Israel honours Greek pair with ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ medal

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Israeli Ambassador to Greece, Noam Katz, awarded the “Righteous among the Nations” medal posthumously to Thomas and Antonis Kyriakis for rescuing the Jewish family of Shemo Cohen during the Holocaust. In 1943, after the Nazis entered Corfu, Thomas and his son Antonis sheltered the Cohen family in Valanio, risking their lives to protect them.

The award ceremony in Corfu included members of both the Kyriakis and Cohen families. Spyridoula Kyriakis, granddaughter of Thomas and daughter of Antonis, received the medal, while Marina and Eleni Kyriakis, daughters of Dimitris Kyriakis, received the certificate.

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Center, bestows the title of Righteous among the Nations to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. The honor includes a medal, diploma, and the recipient’s name inscribed on the Wall of the Righteous, with a tree planted in their memory in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem.

righteous among nations greek pair
Guests present at the award ceremony.

Ambassador Katz highlighted the immense loss of 67,000 Greek Jews in the Holocaust and honored the bravery of those who defied the Nazis.

He emphasised the importance of remembering and promoting the values of empathy, understanding, and moral integrity, quoting the Jewish proverb, “Whoever saves one life is like saving the world.”

To date, 369 Greeks have been recognised as Righteous Among the Nations, including prominent figures like Archbishop Damaskinos and resistance hero Lela Karagianni. The ambassador concluded, “Today they are joined by Thomas and Antonis Kyriakis. May their memory be immortal.”

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