A series of events in memory of Thessaloniki Jews killed during the Holocaust will be held between March 14-18 in the city, culminating in a silent memorial march from Eleftherias Square to the city’s old railway station on the morning of Sunday, March 18. The remembrance events are called “Never Again: 75 years since the first train departed for the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps”.
Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, in a press conference on Thursday, noted that the memorial march was being held for the sixth successive year and was an idea that had been embraced by city authorities.
“The story of the Jewish matter had been swept under the carpet. We decided to gradually showcase the city’s Jewish identity. You cannot build the future if you don’t know the past,” Boutaris said.
The mayor highlighted initiatives in support of this effort, such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum or the completion of a metropolitan park to the west of the city, where between 40,000 and 50,000 olive trees will be planted – one for each of the Thessaloniki Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps – as well as emerging plans for a Jewish school in the city.
On behalf of the city’s Jewish community, its vice-president Lazaros Seficha underlined that it was time to “lift the veil of silence that covered Thessaloniki’s past for decades” not only about events during the Holocaust itself but also what the few survivors faced on their return.
The events start on Wednesday, March 14 with the screening of the film “Stars” at the Olympion Theatre, followed by a lecture by the Jewish Studies chair Giorgos Antoniou at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on March 16. A concert at the University of Macedonia is scheduled for Saturday, March 17, while the march and a photography exhibition in the foyer of City Hall will take place on Sunday.