A new Holocaust memorial was unveiled in Xanthi in Thrace, paying tribute to the 526 Jews from the city who were exterminated.
The unveiling ceremony was organised by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece in cooperation with the Municipality and the Cultural and Development Center of Thrace (PAKETHRA), and within the framework of the Greek Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
At the base of the Monument, which was symbolically placed in Eleftherias Square in Xanthi, 526 pebbles were placed, as many as the Jews of Xanthi who were exterminated by the Nazis, as well as parts of two railway rails that symbolize their route to the concentration camp in Treblinka.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by Ministers, MPs, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of the religious authorities, the local government, Army, Fire Brigade, the Police, the Democritus University of Thrace, mayors, representatives of Jewish communities and organizations, as well as many people.
Before the ceremony, the officials visited the Jewish cemetery of Xanthi, where a memorial service was held by Rabbi of Thessaloniki Aaron Israel and. The Mayor of Xanthi Emmanuel Tsepelis, welcomed the official guests to the Town Hall. They then walked together to Eleftherias Square where the event took place, which began with a memorial service by the Rabbi of Thessaloniki Aaron Israel.
This was followed by greetings of the Mayor of Xanthi, Emmanuel Tsepelis, the Regional Governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Christos Metios, the Ambassador of Israel Yossi Amrani, the President of the International Alliance for the Remembrance of the Holocaust, George Polydorakis, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities, David Saltiel and the Minister of Education, Niki Kerameos.
Video messages of the Vice-President of the European Commission for the promotion of the European way of life, Margaritis Schinas and descendants of Xanthi Jews, were projected.
Professor Vassilis Ritzaleos spoke about the history of the Jews of Xanthi and on behalf of the Cultural and Development Center of Thrace, Professor Vassilis Aivaliotis referred to the importance of the Monument.
Then the Holocaust Memorial was unveiled by the Minister of Education, the Mayor of Xanthi and the President of KIS. A minute’s silence was observed and the National Anthem was recoiled by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Municipality of Xanthi.
The speeches ended with the address of the Xanthi Metropolitan Mr. Panteleimonas. The event concluded with the presentation of a musical program by soprano, Mariangela Chatzistamatiou, who sang songs written by Greek Jewish prisoners of Auschwitz accompanied by the philharmonic of the Municipality of Xanthi.
At the end of the event, the Minister of Education Niki Kerameos, the Metropolitan of Xanthi Mr. Panteleimonas, the local representative of the Mufti’s deputy, Imam Ebliouk Ramadan and the Rabbi of Thessaloniki Aaron Israel, sent a strong message of peaceful coexistence of Christians, Muslims and Jews, with their joint photograph in front of the Monument, as Thrace is a model of this coexistence.