Today, the northern Greek city of Alexandroupoli honors the memory of the approximately 150 Greek-Jews who were abducted by Nazi German invaders after being forced from their homes.
By March 4, 1943, the group had been arrested by the Nazis, who later transported them to concentration camps and executed 146 of them.
In March 2019, the city erected the memorial for its murdered Jews who perished among millions of others in Nazi labor or death camps. The memorial stands in the main square outside of the Metropolitan Church of St. Nicholas and bears a plaque which reads: “In memory of the Holocaust of the Jews of Alexandroupoli.”
Numerous international and local officials attended the ceremony, including then-Israeli Ambassador to Greece, Irit Ben-Aba, Secretary General of the Central Israeli Council of Greece Victor Eliezer, Jewish university professors and five descendants of one of Alexandroupoli’s Holocaust survivors.
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt visited the site on September 13, 2019, when he met with Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Anthimos.
“I was especially glad to be able to visit with [Anthimos] at the new Holocaust Memorial in Alexandroupolis,” Pyatt said in a statement. “One of the sad realities of Greece and especially Northern Greece is that it had a terrible experience during the war. A terrible experience with the Holocaust that almost eliminated completely what was at one time a really thriving Jewish community which in cities like Thessaloniki was a key part of the culture, of the fabric and what makes that city so unique.”
The ambassador added that he has “a lot of respect” for the metropolitan’s efforts to educate future generations about the Greek-Jewish experience during the Holocaust and to send a “very strong message of religious tolerance and understanding.”
He shared his reflections at the time in a Twitter post.
“Honored to visit the new memorial to Alexandroupoli’s Jewish community lost in the Holocaust with Metropolitan Anthimos, whose commitment to religious freedom and tolerance is an inspiration,” Pyatt wrote, adding the hashtag #NeverAgain.
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