Consulate General of Greece organizes Holocaust Remembrance Day of Greek Jews

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Consulate General of Greece organizes Holocaust Remembrance Day of Greek JewsIn collaboration with the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

In honor of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Consulate General of Greece in New York organized an event on Wednesday, March 2, in collaboration with the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, entitled "Holocaust Remembrance Day of the Greek Jewry".

The event started with a message by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, responsible for Greeks Abroad, Mr. Andreas Katsaniotis, who stressed the importance of the Greek Presidency of IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance), which under the main theme "Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust: Education for a world without genocide ever again”, has already run  15 seminars, educational programs, and workshops on teaching the Holocaust and training educators, law enforcement officers, clergymen, and other officials. In addition, Mr. Katsaniotis underlined that the Greek Presidency has also been focused on fighting the new threats in the digital era: hate speech, racism, discrimination, antisemitism, and Holocaust denial and distortion. Also, in the UN framework, Greece has co-sponsored, along with all EU-member states, the Decision on Holocaust Denial, which was recently adopted by the General Assembly.

The Consul General of Greece in New York, Mr. Konstantinos Koutras, asked for a minute's silence in memory of the victims in Ukraine. Commencing his speech, he referred to the ever-present struggle against antisemitism and all forms of racism and raised the issue of the dangerous cultivation of mentality of historic ignorance and the exacerbation of hate speech as two factors that lead to apathy and extremism. Furthermore, Mr. Koutras presented the duty of modern societies to remember the debt of honor and remembrance that is owed to the souls that perished during the Holocaust, as well as the debt of gratitude to the survivors, “for they hold a mirror before our faces. And in it, we see our world”. Finally, Mr. Koutras emphatically stated the need to protect all those who need protection today, against the growing sentiments of intolerance and fanaticism.

The key-note speaker of the event was Dr. Mark Mazower, Professor of History at Columbia University, who made an interesting historical reference to individual stories of Greek Jews, mainly in the city of Thessaloniki, pointing out that the new generations should be aware of what happened during the Holocaust. More precisely, Professor Mazower presented correspondence between members of Greek-Jewish families of the period, where personal family moments and emotions are intertwined with the persecution and the brutality of the Nazi regime. Moreover, Professor Mazower shared his own personal stories of his interaction with the remaining Greek-Jewish families of Thessaloniki.

Also, greetings were addressed by the President of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Mr. Solomon Asser, the Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Michalis Firillas, the Consul General of Israel, Mr. Asaf Zamir, and Rabbi Diana S. Gerson. All speakers addressed the crowd in a very personal tone while the coordinator of the program, Mr. James Demetro, emphatically stated that “neutrality is not neutral”.

The greetings and the speech were followed by a music program by the Conception of the Atelier excellence with soprano Maria Zoi, performing musical compositions of Gustav Mahler, Max Bruch, and Mikis Theodorakis.

The event was honored by the presence of the expatriate Supreme Judge, Ms. Magdalene Singa, the representative of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Mr. Vassilis Tsamis, the Former Archbishop Demetrios of America Mr. Dimitrios, Fr. Nektakrios Papazafiropoulos as a representative of the Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Rabbi David Levy, representing the President of the American – Jewish Committee, Mr. David Harris, the Provost of New York University, Katherine Fleming, diplomats, distinguished academics, as well as members of the Greek and Greek-Jewish community and the American-Jewish community.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Wvdp 

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