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Athens, 30 January 2023

Parliament pays tribute to Remembrance Day for Greek-Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust

A special plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament was held this morning to commemorate the Remembrance Day for the Greek-Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust.

The 1st Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament Nikitas Kaklamanis opened the session, stressing the "every year, around this time, we bow to the sacrifice of the Jews on the altar of Nazism and at the same time we recall with pride the self-denial of their Christian brothers who risked their lives to protect them or often save them from certain death. In one of the most painful pages of global History was, thus, destined to be written a hymn to solidarity and brotherhood between Christians and Jews."

It was an inconceivable tragedy, said Mr Kaklamanis, that for Greece first started in the big cities, such as Thessaloniki, to be concluded with the atrocity of the camps and the loss of almost 90% of Greece's Jewish element. 

The 1st Vice-President of the Parliament underlined that amongst the victims were thirty Hellenic Parliament MPs. Their names have been inscribed on a commemorative plaque in the Parliament's collonated entrace hall ("Peristylio"), as a small tribute to their sacrifice. 

"Honouring their memory today, along with the memory of all Greek-Jewish heroes and martyrs, I would like us to focus on the lessons emanating even from such a raw story of human hatred. Let us remember that the poison of intolerance, in all aspects of life, corrupts our conscience and ends up spreading on the darkest pages of our History. Let us also remember that the antidote continues to be faith and the obstinate belief in a better world. And in a proud homeland made of humanity, courage and solidarity. These are our only natural and innate values from the moment we are born. It is up to us to continue to cultivate them, wisely and respectfully, so that they take deep roots in our hearts, starting today and for always", concluded Mr Kaklamanis. 

The Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikramenos, in his intervetion, stressed that "it is our duty to fight against antisemitism and racism and social division in all of their forms", pointing out that "we must convince everyone that the redemption of the innocent souls that were lost untimely can be achieved through open, prosperous, equitable and just societies". He concluded: "All humans are equal and deserve respect. We cannot forget what happened in the past, nor can we change it. However, it can never occur again. Never again." Mr Pikramenos noted that the studies on the construction of a Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki are progressing, and he expressed the hope that in spring, around March, "the first licences will be granted in order to proceed with implementing the project". He mentioned that "it will be a place of witness, as well as an international symbol against racism and discrimination in all their forms".

The representatives of the political parties who took the floor were (in this order): Sofia Sakorafa (MeRA25), Maria Athanasiou (Elliniki Lysi / Greek Solution), Ioannis Delis (Communist Party of Greece), Dimitris Konstantakopoulos (PASOK-Movement for Change), Chara Kafantari (SYRIZA) and Anastasios Chatzivasileiou (New Democracy). They referred to the lessons of the atrocities of the Holocaust, the sacrifice of Greek Jews in the nightmarish concentration camps and to the need for social vigilance against Nazism and intolerance, but also to the promotion of the values of humanity and solidarity.

At the end of the session, a minute of silence was observed in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. 

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