The Holocaust to be remembered in Xanthi

Western Thrace
Mon, 21 Feb 2022 14:06 GMT
The opening of the Holocaust Memorial to the 526 Greek Jews from Xanthi, who were murdered in the Nazi camps, took place on Sunday, February 20, in the Freedom Square of Xanthi (Platia Elefterias). Minister of Education Niki Kerameos, deputy ministers, de...
The Holocaust to be remembered in Xanthi

The opening of the Holocaust Memorial to the 526 Greek Jews from Xanthi, who were murdered in the Nazi camps, took place on Sunday, February 20, in the Freedom Square of Xanthi (Platia Elefterias).

Minister of Education Niki Kerameos, deputy ministers, deputies, and representatives of the Jewish community, the head of region, mayors, local administrators, diplomats and guests attended the opening ceremony.

The host of the event, Xanthi Mayor Manolis Tsepelis welcomed all the guests at the municipality. After then they walked through the municipality and reached the opening ceremony site.

Metropolit of Xanthi Pandeleimon, Xanthi appointed mufti representative Ramazan Ebluk and Thessaloniki Rabbi Aaron Israel were among the attendees.

The opening ceremony started with the prayer of Rabbi Aoron Israel of Thessaloniki.


In her speech at the opening ceremony, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Niki Kerameos said, "As the government, and especially as the Ministry of Education and Religion, we emphasize the importance of education for the Holocaust and encourage our children to be taught the brutality of Nazism from a very early age."

Stating that the Ministry of Education organizes various seminars for the Holocaust, "We organize training seminars for teachers on Holocaust teaching. We cooperate with authorized institutions.  We are doing awareness work. We continue to work on learning and teaching values such as knowledge, mutual respect, and understanding of difference at an early age so that the events can be learned comprehensively.” Kerameos said.

Kerameos concluded her speech by saying, “We guarantee that there will never be cracks that will allow the resurgence of fascism, anti-Semitism, and intolerance.”


Margaritis Shinas, Vice President of the European Commission for the Promotion of the European Lifestyle, attended the opening ceremony via video conference and made a speech.

Shinas began to his speech by saying “Thrace, the symbol of coexistence, tolerance and solidarity, is a place that reflects the European way of life and is a model of society that fits all of us.”

He said that this monument, which was inaugurated in Thrace, a region where people from different religions live in peace, joins the diverse cultural and historical heritage of the region.

Shinas concluded his speech by saying: “Anti-Semitic prejudices and millennial ideologies have deep roots in European history. Unfortunately, we have seen an unprecedented spread on the internet recently. We have also seen conspiracy theories surrounding the role of Jews in the spread of the pandemic, which has fueled new cases of anti-Semitic violence. The scourge of anti-Semitism must be tackled holistically through cooperation at the European, national and local levels.”


In his short speech, Israel's Ambassador to Athens Yossi Amrani stated that it should not be forgotten that even small Jewish communities in Greece were victims of the Nazi brutality, and thanked those who contributed to the construction and organizing the opening ceremony of the monument.


Speaking at the opening ceremony, David Saltiel, Chairman of the Central Israel Council of Greece and President of the Thessaloniki Israel Community, said, "This humble Monument is important for the memory of the Jews of Xanthi. This monument becomes a beacon of light to remind us that what happened then can happen again in any society, in any city, at any time in history, no matter how advanced or modern is.”

"This will be a point of reference and pilgrimage, but also a springboard for the creation of memory initiatives and educational activities, a lively interaction with history," Saltiel said.


In his speech at the opening, East Macedonian Thrace Region President Christos Metios evaluated the opening of the monument as an act of commemoration and said, “Today's action is a proof of the harmonious coexistence of Jews, Christians and Muslims and what multiculturalism means for our country”.


The Mayor of Xanthi, Manolis Çepelis, who played a leading role in the construction of the monument and the organization of the opening ceremony, expressed his satisfaction for the high-level participation of the event.

Tsepelis said, “The Jewish Community of Xanthi has left an indelible mark on the dynamic presence of our society at all levels today”.

Tsepelis said in his speech: “Today Xanthi (Xanthi) pays homage to the memory of 526 Jews who, like all their co-religionists in Europe, suffered an inhuman fate. From Xanthi, from this part of Greek territory, we are sending a historical and cultural message of peace, solidarity and humanity to all directions”.

Later, The Metropolit of Xanthi Pandeleimon gave a welcome speech.

After Metropolit’s speech Vasilis Ritzaleos, a lecturer at Thrace Demokritus University, gave detailed information on the history of Xanthi Jews.

After the speeches, the monument wrapped in the Greek flag was inaugurated, together with the Minister of Education Kerameos, Mayor Tsepelis and the Chairman of the Central Israel Council of Greece. The wreath laying ceremony took place immediately after the opening.


The ceremony was attended by Minister of Education Kerameos, Region President Metios, Mayor Tsepelis, Mayor of Thessaloniki Zirvas, Mayor of Alexandroupoli Zambukis, Xanthi KINAL Deputy Burhan Baran, Head of the Israel Greek Center, head of IHRA, Head of the Greek Political Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece in Thrace Simeon Tegos, Israel, Canada, Poland ambassadors to Athens, US Consul General to Thessaloniki, Swiss vice consulate, Germany Consul to Thessaloniki, Austrian Vice Consul, Swedish Consul to Thessaloniki, Vice Consul of Turkish Consulate General to Komotini, 4th Army Commander, East Macedonia Thrace Police General Manager and fire chief.

Representatives of the Jewish Community participating in the opening ceremony of the monument, visited the Jewish cemetery in Xanthi before the opening ceremony and attended the ceremony led by Rabbi Aaron Israel.

Address: Miaouli 7-9, Xanthi 67100, GREECE.
Tel: +30 25410 77968.