The Prime Minister of Israel, and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and the President of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis took part in the ceremony marking the founding of the Museum of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki.
In his speech, the Prime Minister of Greece stated:
«Greece and Israel share a common history. We are gathered here to celebrate our initiative to create the Museum of memory of the tragic period in the history of this city, memory of the Holocaust, which is thus transferred to new generations of residents of Thessaloniki. The Museum will present what happened in the past and what might happen in the future. We are not allowed to encroach on the peace and freedom».
In response, Israeli Prime Minister delivered the following speech:
«In the twentieth century the city experienced two disasters. One of them – a fire in 1917 wiped off the face of the earth city and the surrounding area. The fire destroyed the Jewish quarter, but did not touch the Jews. The second catastrophe – the fire of Nazism, which destroyed about 95% of the local Jewish community. The Nazis did not destroy all, for two reasons. The first is the heroism of the Greeks, which is reflected in one little-known incident that occurred on the island of Zakynthos. When the German commander demanded a list of Jews, local bishops and priests indicated in the list of their names, and said, «Here are our Jews.» These two heroes take pride of place among the Righteous of the world memorial «Yad Vashem».
There is another reason why they survived: it’s a special ability, attachment to life, which characterizes survivors. One of them – Moshe and Elyon, who is now 93 years old. He lit the torch in Jerusalem. Every year, we light six torches in «Yad VA-Shem» in memory of the six million dead Jews. Moshe described how he survived the Holocaust in Thessaloniki. Amazing heroism, incredible story. And I said to him: «I will go to the meeting in Thessaloniki and want you to join me.» He was very excited. Moses is not feeling too well, so I suggested to his daughter Rachel, and son Eliyahu to join us and to introduce him here today. My wife and I wish him a speedy recovery, and I am sure that the event that will take place in Thessaloniki, will warm his heart.»
After the event, the Prime Minister was passed a letter to the state of Israel from one of the survivors of the inhabitants of the island of Kefalonia – the Israeli Navy during the earthquake in 1953, when the Israeli Navy ships first came to the aid of islanders.