A Memorial March from the Synagogue to the Railway station of Veria
The Thread of the Memory of the Jewish presence in Veria, before the evil period of the war and the Holocaust, was unrolled during the afternoon of Sunday 22.9.2019 by all those who honored the invitation to attend the March in Memory of the 460 members of the Jewish Community of the city, deported to the Nazi Concentration Camps.
The City Authorities, the Metropolitan Bishop of Imathia Panteleimon, hundreds of citizens of Veria, students from local schools, choirs, a lot of Israelis originating from Veria, Jews all over Greece and representatives of Embassies were among the 2.000 persons that attended the event.
The three-days Holocaust commemoration events, organized on the occasion of Chairmanship of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), culminated with a the march which was followed by a concert entitled “The Memory of the Thread”, based on an idea of the famous soprano Sonia Theodoridou. The events were organized by multiple partners including the Embassy of Luxembourg in Greece, the Municipality of Veria, the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece, and with the support of the Embassy of Israel in Greece, the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, and others.
“My idea was that a red thread traverses, in the footprints of all the people that have been deported from their homes. The thread symbolizes the path of the blood”, Sonia Theodoridou stated to the Athenian-Macedonian press agency, few hours before the march, while she was putting a last “touch” to the artwork made with shoes offered by local people, in memory of their Jewish fellow citizens.
Students from Veria, wearing black clothes, holding cartons with the names of their Jewish fellow citizens perished in the Holocaust, were led in the march by survivors Rachel Daniel and Reuven Emmanuel. They were all walking a three kilometer course, starting at the Synagogue and ending at the Railway station, the point from which the Jews of the city were deported to Auschwitz – Birkenau.
Before starting the march, at the Synagogue, the Rabbi of Thessaloniki, Aaron Israel, prayed at the commemoration ceremony, while the Mayor of Veria Konstantinos Voryiazidis, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, David Saltiel and Sonia Theodoridou addressed the audience mentioning the content and the spirit of the “thread of Memory and responsibility”.
Unveiling the Holocaust Memorial at the old Jewish Cemetery
Few hours before the march, at the old Jewish cemetery, in the neighborhood of Promitheas, the Holocaust Monument was unveiled. This monument shows a Menorah placed in front of a small house built to remind the Jewish cemetery. Next to it, on three marble tiles the following message is engraved in Greek, English and Hebrew: “460 Jews of Veria were deported from their birthplace on 1st may 1943 and exterminated by the Nazis in the death camps of Auschwitz – Birkenau. the city of Veria remembers the holocaust of the 6.000.000 Jews and dedicates this monument to the holy memory of the victims”.
During his speech, at the unveiling ceremony, the Mayor of Veria Konstantinos Voryiazidis spoke about an “historical day” mentioning that the conservation of the Memory is an “historic and moral duty”, underlining that if the local Jewish Community hadn’t perished, Veria would be a much “richer” city today.
“It is important to remember and to learn this precise chapter of history on the Jewish life here” the new Israeli Ambassador to Greece, Yossi Amrani stated during his speech at the ceremony.
“The Memorial consists an homage and an expectation for the future”, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities Greece, David Saltiel, said after having unveiled, together with the Mayor of the city the Monument, mentioning the necessity that the monument must be transformed in a “living tool of interaction with history”.
A three-days event around commemorating the Holocaust is hold in Greece including the opening of the exhibition of the Jewish Museum of Greece titled “Hidden children in Occupied Greece”, the presentation of the 37th volume of the Chronicles of Imathia, an edition of the Society for Historical and Cultural Studies of the region of Imathia, which is dedicated to the history of the Jews of Veria and finally Sephardic, Hebrew and Greek songs sung by the choir Echo Verois.