The President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and Vice- President of the World Jewish Congress, David Saltiel, was awarded with the title of Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic in a ceremony hosted by His Excellency the Ambassador of Spain to Greece, Enrique Viguera Rubio at the Byzantine Museum of Thessaloniki.
In the beginning of the ceremony, the Honorary Consul of Spain in Thessaloniki, Samuel Nahmias, welcomed the guests and the Counselor of the Embassy of Spain, Juan Saenz de Heredia, read out the Royal Decree.
The Ambassador of Spain in his address following the decoration of Saltiel, referred to the strong bonds between Spain and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. He stressed particularly Saltiel’s contribution towards the preservation of the Sephardic culture and the Judeo-Spanish language.
In turn, Saltiel highlighted the special link that the Sephardic Jews of Thessaloniki have with Spain and pointed out the efforts of Sebastian Romero Radigales, the Spanish Consul in Athens during the period of the Holocaust, to prevent the transportation of 367 Sephardic Jews from Thessaloniki to the death camps of Auschwitz – Birkenau, and their transportation to Bergen Belsen instead and later to Spain. He also referred to the efforts of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki to preserve the vast cultural legacy that connects the Jews of Thessaloniki to Spain.
In his short address, the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yannis Boutaris, mentioned his cooperation with Saltiel on the project of the creation of the Holocaust Museum of Greece in Thessaloniki.