‘Never Again’: Officials commemorate the Holocaust in Thessaloniki with memorial march

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Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, along with European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Israeli Ambassador Yossi Amrani, participated in a memorial march in Thessaloniki on Sunday to commemorate the deportation of Jews from the city during WWII.

The march was titled, Never again, Thessaloniki – Auschwitz – 79 years since the departure of the first train, and was attended by over 2,000 people who carried white balloons and help up placards that read ‘Never Again.’

During the event, Sakellaropoulou laid flowers on the steps of the train which travelled with the first 2,800 Jews from Thessaloniki to the extermination camp complex Auschwitz-Birkenau in occupied Poland.

READ MORE: ‘Torn Apart by War’: Vic Alhadeff’s play uncovers the unexpected love story of his Greek Jewish father.

The Greek President then gave a small speech and stressed how acknowledging the Holocaust and its deadly impact will ensure it never happens again.

“It is only if we transmit the historical knowledge to the next generation, if we preserve the memory, if we all have the empathy, feel the pain and the anguish of the victims as it were our own, if we understand that the Holocaust is part of an international historical heritage, that can we arm ourselves against the march of evil,” she said.

READ MORE: Jacky Benmayor: The last speaker in Greece of a Jewish language close to extinction.

The Vice President of the European Commission agreed and emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence and historical remembrance in these dark hours, when Europe is once again being put to the test.

The Israeli Ambassador thanked everyone present at the march and said “the historic lesson of the Holocaust is one of responsibility, individual and collective, within our states and country, to stand by the victim, the weak, the refugee.”

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki, with roots since the 15th century, was decimated by the Nazis during WWII. Of the community’s nearly 50,000 people, almost 45,000 were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where only a handful survived.

READ MORE: Greek Jewish manuscripts ‘return home’ after being stolen by Nazis nearly 80 years ago.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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