Holocaust survivor Moshe Aelion leads Thessaloniki remembrance march to say ‘Never Again’

Retracing the steps that brought him to the Auschwitz concentration camp 75 years ago, 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Moshe Aelion on Sunday took his wheelchair and joined others that marched in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki to send the message ‘Never Again’.

The remembrance march gathered in the city’s Eletheria (Freedom) Square on Sunday morning and walked to the Old Railway Station, from where the Nazi death trains had set off for the Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps, carrying flowers and white balloons bearing their message.

“The memory must remain alive, not only to pay tribute to the victims of this atrocity but to always keep alive before us the image of the horror that we can find ourselves living again, if we do not learn from the past. These are days when we must take action to avert the hatching of many ‘serpents’ eggs’ that threaten us. Nationalism, racism are great problems that have not been eradicated and can easily return to the forefront. We must refuse them the way so that humanity does not again live through the horror that the Jews of Thessaloniki and the world once did,” Deputy Economy and Development Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said in an address on behalf of the Greek government.

Taking part in the march were members of the city’s Jewish community, local residents and many visitors, while speeches were made by the head of the Jewish community David Saltiel, Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris and Israel’s Ambassador to Greece Irit ben Abba.

The rector of Thessaloniki’s Aristotelian University Periklis Mitkas said the university is considering a third memorial monument to Jewish students killed by the Nazis while the event was concluded by Greek singer Charis Alexiou and Israeli singer Jehuda Poliker, himself the son of a Holocaust survivor.

Afterward, those present laid flowers on the tracks, lit candles and wrote messages on the old train carriages, in Greek, English and Hebrew.