Ambassador’s intervention at B'nai B'rith International event in memory of the heroic Rabbi of Volos, Moshe Pessah (Jerusalem, April 16th, 2015)
Intervention at Bnai Brith event
I would, first of all, like to extend my gratitude to the Organizers of the event, both for the invitation but also for choosing such an important historic figure of Greek Jewry to be honored for this year.
Rabbi Moshe Pessach, blessed be his soul, belongs to those brave few, non ordinary people that stood up and made a significant difference during the unimaginable calamity that befell our dear Jewish Communities in Greece, as in so many other places in Europe, during the horrific Shoah of World War II.
I must admit that it always impresses me beyond any description, how in those dark days such brave few helped so many in peril, often endangering, or even loosing their own lives in the process.
Dear friends, today we heard a lot, but perhaps not enough, about the wisdom, the bravery and the sanctity of Rebbe Moshe Pessach, a unique religious leader that during such an unprecedented unsettling storm found the courage, the calm and the perseverance to lead his flock to safety by ignoring the occupying Nazis, by taking grave personal risks and ultimately by succeeding in safely transferring and hiding large numbers of persecuted innocent Jews, men, women and children into the thick woods of the Greek mountains of Pelion, among the brave Resistance fighters who offered them protection, shelter and, ultimately, survival and freedom.
From my part, all I have to say as the official representative of the Hellenic Republic in Israel, but also as a responsible democratic citizen of a free and proud European nation that in those dark times stood up against Nazism and paid a dear price for it, is that apart from our perennial duty to commemorate those distinguished brave like Rabbi Moshe Pessach, Jews and Christians alike that gave up everything with extraordinary courage in order to save fellow human beings, no one has the right to forget or forgive for the capital crime against humanity that was committed over seventy years ago, but is still so relevant in our days.
Nazism, racism, anti-Semitism and social intolerance have no place in our modern democratic societies, especially in a clearly and alarmingly bewildered Europe in this first part of the 21st century.
Our States but also we, individually, as active and responsible citizens, should not and will not tolerate the hatching of the terrible serpent of fascism out of its egg for a second time, be it in Greece, Europe, the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.
Therefore, let us join our strength and determination against those criminal few, the fanatics and the lunatics that insult and endanger our principles, our collective memory and history, our fundamental ways of living and our fervent desire for leading decent, free lives, happily in the light and not scared and ashamed in darkness, for ourselves or our children.
Let us and future generations, shout loud in their inhuman faces: “Never again”!