During a meeting on February 6, the rector of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Yannis Mylopoulos and the president of the Jewish community of the city David Saltiel, agreed on the foundation of a department of Jewish studies in Thessaloniki University.
The meeting was attended by the Dean of the Philosophical Faculty, Miltiadis Papanikolaou, the vice president and the general manager of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The Jewish community of Thessaloniki will finance the first year of operation of the department, which is expected to be included in the curriculum of the Philosophical Faculty starting from the academic year 2014-2015.
“A Department of Jewish Studies was operating from 1930 to 1935 but it was suspended by Metaxas’ dictatorship. Then the Holocaust took place and today, after seventy years, the Greek state and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki decided to reestablish it. It is a very important decision for us, for the university, but also for the city of Thessaloniki” said the president of the Jewish community.
The rectorate of Thessaloniki University described the meeting as “historic.” The main goal of the two sides is “the restoration of historical memory and the transmission of scientific knowledge in the field of Jewish history and culture.”
The foundation of the Department of Jewish Studies in AUTH has a special meaning as the city’s history is closely related to Jewish culture since the Jews of Thessaloniki before the Holocaust, amounted to 20% of the population.