Greece will be honoring the memories of thousands of Greek Jews killed by Nazis during World War II, the government announced on Wednesday.
The government gazette said, “Today we celebrate with the rest of the Greeks, the ‘Day of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust,’ which the Greek parliament adopted, unanimously, into Law 3218 on 2004.”
It is the first time since the day was established that a delegation of Greek Jews will attend a special session of the Greek parliament honoring them.
“It is an important day as because through these events we condemn intolerance, anti-Semitism and racism and we give a message to the younger generations. This day is not only for the Jews. It is for the lessons the Holocaust has taught us. We must not forget, we should draw conclusions so that such things do not happen again,” the president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel told ANA-MPA.
Thessaloniki was declared a “martyr city” in 2012 and is included in the “Martyr Cities & Villages of Greece Network”.
The approximately 50,000 indigenous Greek Jews members of a flourishing community were led to crematoria, on nineteen trains, from March to August of 1943. Less than 2,000 of them managed to survive and return to Thessaloniki (a thousand of them from the camps and the rest from the countryside, where they had been hiding).
The Greek state, in a particularly difficult period after the World War II and before the civil war, was among the first in Europe to adopt laws on the restitution of property. However, many Jewish beneficiaries fought in courts for years to prove that they owned their property, as their title deeds had been lost or destroyed, and their relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, friends, and witnesses who could confirm ownership of property had died.