El Maleh Rachamim prayer in Holocaust Memorial ceremony in Ioannina, Greece (2014)

Cantor Haim Ischakis performs El Maleh Rachamim at the Kahal Kadosh Yashan Synagogue in Ioannina, Greece. The video was recorded on Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony for the remembrance of the 70 years since the Nazi deportations of Greek Jews. More than 500 people from all over the world, including foreign Diplomats and local dignitaries, attended this moving ceremony organized by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) and the historical Romaniote local Jewish Community.

Articles about the ceremony:

Greece’s Romaniote Jews remember a catastrophe and grapple with disappearing (JTA)

Greece’s Last Romaniote Jews Remember a Catastrophe (JTA)

Greece: Holocaust memorial destroyed in Kavala

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Kavala Mayor Dimitra Tsanaka in front of the destroyed Holocaust memorial, 30/3/2017 via kavalapost.gr

A Holocaust memorial in Kavala, northern Greece, has been partially destroyed in a deliberate act of vandalism, kavalapost.gr reported today. The attack occured only a few days after the desecration with paint of the Holocaust monument in Arta.

The municipality of Kavala has condemned the vandalism promising to fully restore the monument and take the necessary measures to apprehend those responsible.

Though guarded by the police during the night, this is the second vandalism of the newly erected Kavala Holocaust memorial: Just two weeks after the unveiling ceremony on June 7, 2015, the monument was desecrated by a blue paint attack.

Update, 31.03.2017: The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece has expressed in a statement its “deep concern: these acts of desecration show in an obvious way that anti-Semitism -an antisemitism almost without Jews-, racism, and intolerance survive and lurk everywhere in every moment. Every moral, political or other act of legitimation of the nostalgic pro-Nazis increases the risk of the revival of anti-Semitism and of the expansion of such incidents that threaten the values of a modern and democratic society and darken the prestige of our country. Prosecutors should take all necessary measures to arrest the vandals responsible and bring them to justice.” (full statement here)

Relevant: Vandals smash Holocaust memorial in northern Greece (ekathimerini.com, 30.03.2017)

»Küsse für die Kinder« – Filmvorführung und Gespräch

[via stiftung-denkmal.de]

1. Dezember 2016, 18 Uhr, Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, Ort der Information, Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin

Versteckt hinter einer Fensterscheibe, muss die damals 10-jährige Rosina Asser-Pardo den Deportationszug der jüdischen Bevölkerung aus dem griechischen Saloniki mit ansehen. Unter den Menschen auf der Straße erkennt sie ihre Großmutter. So wie Rosina sind auch Iossif, Eftyhia, Shelly und Marios bei nicht-jüdischen Familien versteckt. »Küsse für die Kinder« lässt die Erinnerungen der fünf Protagonisten aufleben und berichtet vom jüdischen Leben in Griechenland vor dem Einmarsch der Nationalsozialisten 1941 und von Kindheiten im Schatten des Holocaust.

Eine Anmeldung per Mail unter info [at] stiftung-denkmal.de bis spätestens 29. November 2016 ist erforderlich.

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Der Trailer des Dokumentarfilms von Vassilis Loules kann hier angeschaut werden [englische Untertitel können eingeschaltet werden]:

Ein kurzer Abschnitt des Filmes mit englischen Untertiteln ist hier vorhanden:

Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria

We woke up one morning, and we saw black snow. It had snowed, and it did not usually snow in March. My grandmother said that “Something will happen, something bad will happen”. 

Kastoria, March 1944, from the clip “Black Snow”

[On the night of March 24, 1944, the Jewish population of the city was arrested and detained in the Girls’ High School of Kastoria. Three days later, 763 people, and a small number of Yugoslavian Jews who had found refuge in Kastoria were transported to Thessaloniki on vans and then to Poland, never to come back again. via]

Synopsis via trezoros.com

trezoros_kastoria_dokumentary“Trezoros: The Lost Jews of Kastoria” is a moving documentary that illuminates the lives of a Sephardic community in Greece whose story speaks for all people who have been decimated by war and discrimination. The story is set in the beautiful, idyllic city of Kastoria where Jews and Christians lived in harmony for over two millennia.

In October of 1940 it would all be destroyed after the invasion of Greece by Axis forces. Initially occupied by Italy, the Jewish community remained safe. After Mussolini fell from power the Nazis took control of the town, dooming the community that had existed since the times of the Roman Empire.

The film uses never-before-seen archival footage, vibrantly bringing to life just one of the many Jewish communities that had existed in Greece before the end of World War II. TREZOROS (Ladino/Judeo-Spanish term of endearment meaning “Treasures”) is a highly emotional story told by it’s survivors, with interviews filmed on location in Kastoria, Thessaloniki, Athens, Tzur Moshe, Tel Aviv, Miami, Los Angeles and New York.

Directors: Lawrence Russo, Larry Confino

[…] For the directors Lawrence Russo and Larry Confino, who are cousins and whose forefathers were Kastoriani, this was more than a family project. Releasing precious oral history narrated by a small group of people, the superbly crafted documentary tells of the suffering of one town, but calls forth the universal quality of community resilience in the face of horrendous odds.

The directors seamlessly and without artifice combine interviews with highly personable men and women of the Sephardic community which was in the 1930s a substantial presence in Kastoria, a stronghold of the Greek Orthodox Church but where Jews and Christians lived in harmony for hundreds of years. The Jewish populace of Kastoria dating from the times of the Roman empire, were to be all but wiped out by the Holocaust.

Compared with the tragedies that hit their co-religionists in much of Europe, the fate of Greek Jews is inadequately known. This film graphically puts that right as far as Kastoria is concerned. On a larger scale, Thessaloniki had 50,000 Jews before World War II and was known as the Jerusalem of Greece. Today there are only about 600 of the faith living in Greece’s second city. [James Brewer, allaboutshipping.co.uk]

Anti-Israel banner at Democritus University

Members of Left Anti-capitalist Group (Aristeri Antikapitalistiki Syspirosi) have displayed at the entrance of the Law Faculty at Democritus University (Thrace, Northern Greece) a banner which suggests that Israel is commiting genocide against Palestinians, grassrootreuter blog has reported. It reads: “Not another Holocaust. Solidarity to the Palestinians.”

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Photo credit: MotionTeam / Vassilis Ververidis, undated

The photo featuring the antisemitic banner has been published in the leftwing daily newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton to illustrate an article about a discrimination issue at Democritus University.

Greece: Another antisemitic headline

Eleutheri_Ora_25_April_2016Via Yannis Ikonomou

“GREEK PARLIAMENT TURNED INTO JEWISH SYNAGOGUE”

This is today’s headline on one of the many Nazi gutter newspapers in Greece. It refers to the hanging of a commemorative plaque in the Greek Parliament with the names of all Jewish Members of the Greek Parliament who perished in the Holocaust. All political parties attended the ceremony save for the Nazi Golden Party.

Related: Antisemitism in Greek newspaper: Ridiculous or dangerous? By Antonis Gazakis

Volos City Council refused to adopt a resolution commemorating the Holocaust

The majority of the municipal council of Volos, a coastal port city in Thessaly, has reportedly refused to adopt a resolution commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. The opposition which initiated the resolution accused the president of the municipal council, George Moulas, of complicity with the Nazi Golden Dawn party.

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Rabbi Moshe Pesach in 1939. Source: Wikipedia

The Volos Jewish community has arguably been in existence since the ancient Greek Empire.  Last year, Rabbi Moshe Shimon Pessach, an outstanding rabbinic and communal leader whose efforts saved the Jewish community of Volos from the German Nazis, was posthumously honored in Israel. Rabbi Pesach initiated and orchestrated the rescue of the Jewish community with the help of the Bishop of Volos, Joachim Alexopoulos and other non-Jews, saving 74 percent of the Jewish community in a country where 85 percent of the Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. [More information: “The Rabbi and Bishop Who Saved a Greek Jewish Community” by Anav Silverman, April 2015]

Πρόσφυγας στην ίδια σου τη χώρα / Becoming refugee in your native land

Στο πλαίσιο του καλλιτεχνικού εγχειρήματος “Διασπορές” / In the framework of “Diasporas”, an art project focusing on art, migration and diaspora in Thessaloniki and beyond.

Ιωσήφ Βαένα / Iosif Vaena: “Πρόσφυγας στην ίδια σου τη χώρα: οι Εβραίοι που επέστρεψαν απο το Άουσβιτς στη Θεσσαλονίκη / Becoming refugee in your native land: the Jews who returned from Auschwitz to Salonica” (στα Ελληνικά / in Greek)

Περίληψη Παρουσίασης / Presentation Summary:

Η προσφυγιά είναι μια παράξενη κατάσταση. Στην συζήτηση θα ανακαλύψουμε το πώς οι Εβραίοι της Θεσσαλονίκης – των οποίων η ιστορική παρουσία είναι τουλάχιστον 2100 χρόνων και πλειοψηφία ζει τουλάχιστον 520 χρόνια στην πόλη – κατέληξαν πρόσφυγες στην ίδια τους την πόλη μετά το Ολοκαύτωμα και το πώς σήμερα συνυπάρχει η αίσθηση του ιθαγενή και πρόσφυγα ταυτόχρονα.

The condition of being a refugee is a strange one. In our discussion we will discover how the Jews of Thessaloniki –whose historical existence is at least 2100 years old and whose majority lives for at least 520 years in the city – ended up being refugees in their own city after the Holocaust, and how today the sense of being indigenous as well as a refugee simultaneously coexist.

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Μικρή Βιογραφία:

Ο Ιωσήφ Βαένα είναι φαρμακοποιός και στον ελεύθερο χρόνο του συλλέγει εβραϊκές ταφόπλακες από τον Θερμαϊκό. Ελπίζει μια μέρα να μάθει ποιός τις έριξε εκεί.

Iosif Vaena is a pharmacist and in his free time he collects Jewish tombstones from the gulf of Thermaikos. He hopes that one day he will find out who threw them out there.

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Στοιχεία Παρουσίασης / Presentation Information:

Τόπος / Place: Πολιτιστικό Κέντρο Βαβυλωνία, Βύρωνος 3, 54622, Θεσσαλονίκη / Babylonia Cultural Center, 3 Vironos st., 54623, Thessaloniki

Ημερομηνία και Ώρα / Date and Time: 17.10.15, 18:00-21:00 (σειρά παρουσιάσεων / series of presentations)

Γλώσσα Παρουσίασης / Presentation Language: Ελληνικά / Greek

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http://thess.gr/blog/author/mayor-rison

Via diasporaplace.com  [h/t grassrootreuter.wordpress.com]

Σπουδή πάνω στο τραύμα, τη μνήμη, την απώλεια / A study on trauma, memory, loss

h/t Marcia Ikonomopoulos

Artemis Alkalay: A study on trauma, memory, loss. Agathi Art Gallery, Athens, 18-26/6/2015 (h/t Marcia Ikonomopoulos)

As the photographs add up, one by one, like urban aquariums of memory and a motionless daily routine, there doesn’t appear to be any intention to record. Moreover, these portraits emerge like stems of a large bouquet, tied in a ribbon that passes from one generation to the next. For Artemis Alcalay the need to meet the Greek Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, extending her eye over what has propelled her over the last few years as an artistic creator; namely a study on the ‘home’, the house, the habitat, the memory, the loss, the trauma and the healing. These photographic portraits can be seen not only as part of a project but as ‘sacred’ approaches of solitary journeys. Nikos Vatopoulos (via)

Περισσότερα για την έκθεση στο art22.gr. Κείμενα για το έργο της Αρτέμιδος Αλκαλάη μπορείτε να βρείτε στο alkalay.com.

Perhaps not all is lost / Οι μαθητές που κάνουν τη διαφορά

Christian students in support of the monument / Credit: Mayor Rishon, via https://abravanel.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/major-update-church-comes-against-shoah-monument-mayor-accuses-jews/

Christian students of the 3rd General Lyceum of Kavala in support of the Holocaust monument last Sunday. Kavala’s mayor Dimitra Tsanaka postponed the long-awaited event on the grounds that members of her party objected to the monument’s Star of David engraving. Photo Credit: Mayor Rishon, via https://abravanel.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/major-update-church-comes-against-shoah-monument-mayor-accuses-jews/

“What I am afraid is that Courage in Greece is scarce and it bodes ill the fact that even dead, Jews cannot be welcome. Still there were children that Sunday morning in front of the Municipality and these children had chosen to wear that yellow Magen David which everyone hated; so perhaps not all is lost. The Righteous were always few but our gratitude immense; may these boys and girls serve to redeem the sins of the fathers.” (Abravanel: Church comes against Shoah Monument, Mayor accuses Jews)

The students of the 3rd General Lyceum of Kavala have also managed to put their school on the Auschwitz Memorial Map, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp. They uploaded all the material they ‘ve collected for a series of activities that took place in their school community on the 3rd of April 2015. (information via Abravanel on Twitter)

"Holocaust Memorial Day" in the 3rd General Lyceum of Kavala. Photo Credit: Maria Dimitriadou / Source: http://twinspace.etwinning.net/2372/home

“Holocaust Memorial Day” in the 3rd General Lyceum of Kavala. Photo Credit: Maria Dimitriadou / Source: http://twinspace.etwinning.net/2372/home

“Στη συγκέντρωση δεν ήμασταν πολλοί-ή μάλλον δεν ήμασταν τόσοι πολλοί όσο θα ήθελα. Για Κυριακή πρωί, για ένα «δύσκολο θέμα» και για τα δεδομένα μιας επαρχιακής πόλης όπως η Καβάλα ο αριθμός των συγκεντρωμένων ήταν αρκούντως ικανοποιητικός. Ήταν εκει οι επικεφαλής των παρατάξεων της αντιπολίτευσης στο δήμο, μια βουλευτής του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, άνθρωποι διαφόρων ηλικιών και ενδεχομένως ιδεολογικής τοποθέτησης. Πιο σημαντική θεωρώ την παρουσία μιας κυρίας, μεγάλης σε ηλικία που ουτε εβραία ήταν, ενδεχομένως ούτε ήρθε με την ιδιότητα του κομματικού μέλους αλλά γιατί «είναι απαράδεκτο αυτό που γίνεται», των μαθητών της πρώτης τάξης του 3ου λυκείου Καβάλας, που ήρθαν φορώντας το κίτρινο άστρο στο μέρος της καρδιάς, όπως αυτό που φορούσαν οι 1484 που εκτοπίστηκαν στην Τρεμπλινκα, και της καθηγήτριάς τους, της κ. Δημητριάδου, των τεσσάρων γυναικών που ήρθαν από το Ισραήλ μόνο και μόνο για τα αποκαλυπτήρια, θέλοντας να τιμήσουν τη μνήμη της οικογένειάς τους.” (Σοφία Χριστοφορίδου: Τα «αποκαλυπτήρια»… 18.05.2015)

[…]

-(χριστιανός μαθητής παρεμβαίνει): “Να σας κάνω μια ερώτηση;”

-Δήμητρα Τσανάκα.: “Σε παρακαλώ να τελειώσω”.

– (μαθητής): “Επειδή πρέπει να φύγω.(έχει διάβασμα για Πανελλήνιες). Οταν δεν υπάρχει Αστέρι του Δαυίδ δεν είναι σαν να μην υπάρχουν Εβραίοι;”

-Δ.ΤΣ.: “Παιδί μου θα μου επιτρέψεις. Ελα στο Δημαρχείο και αν δεν μπορείς έλα αύριο το πρωί. Ελα να δούμε αυτά τα μνημεία, ανα την Ελλάδα. Το μοναδικό πρόβλημα δεν ήταν το Αστέρι του Δαυίδ, η προστασία του μνημείου ήταν. Διότι να βάλω εγώ ένα μνημείο που θα το βανδαλίσουν μέσα σε ένα 24ωρο…»

– (μαθητής): “Δηλαδή δε μπορείτε να το προστατέψετε;”

-Δ.ΤΣ. “Πώς μπορώ να προστατεύσω αυτό εδώ κάτω (εννοεί το Ηρώο) που κάθε μέρα το καθαρίζουμε και κάθε μέρα το βάφουν;

– (μαθητής): “Και γιατί λέτε οτι δε μπορείτε να το προστατεύσετε;”

-Δ.ΤΣ.: “Δεν ξές παιδί μου τι γίνεται σήμερα; Δε βλέπεις τι γίνεται γύρω σου;”

[από την απομαγνητοφώνηση των δηλώσεων της Δήμητρας Τσανάκα, πηγή: sofiestories.wordpress.com]