The victims of the sinking of the steamship “Tanais”, on June 9, 1944, which marked the annihilation of the Jewish community of Crete, were honoured in a solemn ceremony by the Greek Jewish Community in Koum Kapi, at the port of Chania.
This year’s commemoration ceremony joined the events for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete and was held in the presence of foreign diplomats, representatives of the Central Israeli Council and Israeli Communities.
Memorial prayers were recited by the Rabbi of Athens, Gabriel Negrin, the Metropolitan of Kydonia and Apokoronou, Damascinos, and the representative of the Catholic Church in Chania, priest Fr. Louka Romani.
Greetings were addressed by representatives of the Authorities, the secretary general of KIS Victor Eliezer, and the president of the Board of Directors of the “Ets Hayim non-profit organization” Vasiliki Giakoumaki.
The General Secretary of the Central Jewish Council of Greece Victor Eliezer said in his speech: “”I’m afraid, I’m cold, I’m hungry”. They were the three words that captured the feelings of Miranda Alkalai, the woman who was rescued in Kapourna of Pelion. But it was all three words that marked the beginning of a genocide that culminated in the Holocaust. Because what happened was not another persecution of the Jews, it was the total annihilation, the annihilation, the Shoah”.
He also spoke about the 6 million Jews who, as he noted, “were killed by the most sophisticated industrial method of mass extermination just because they were born Jews, in a time, in a country, on a continent, where it was supposed that the Arts , Letters and Sciences moderated in the society of Nations, after a harsh World War I”.
“What happened was not another persecution of the Jews. It was total annihilation. 86% of Greek Jewry was exterminated in the Nazi death camps”, emphasized G.G. of KISE.
“Tanais” was a cargo ship that had been commandeered by the German invaders. It was torpedoed by a British submarine, when it had sailed from Heraklion bound for Piraeus, and the shipwreck caused many deaths. On the ship were about 265 Cretan Jews, whom the Germans intended for the extermination camps, Cretan resistance fighters and Italian prisoners.