The unveiling of a marble plaque on the entrance of Block XNUMX of the Haidari camp, in memory of the Greek Jews who were imprisoned there before their deportation to Auschwitz, took place on May XNUMX, XNUMX, as part of the commemoration event, organized by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the Athens Jewish Community.

Approximately 5.000 Jews from all over Greece passed from Block 15 where 21.000 Resistance fighters were tortured and executed during the German Occupation.

The event was attended by the Secretary General of the Ministry of National Defense Antonis Oikonomou, who represented the Minister N. Dendias, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, General Dimitrios Houpis, the Ambassador of Germany Andreas Kindl, the DCM of the Embassy of Israel Doron Lebovitz, the representative of the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Major General Emmanuel Tsakanias, the commander of Karaiskakis camp (Haidari) Brigadier General Panagiotis Vassiliadis, the head of the Greek Delegation to IHRA Giorgos Polydorakis, the Presidents of KIS David Saltiel, of the Athens Jewish Community Albertos Taraboulos, of the Jewish Museum of Greece Mikis Modiano, of the Jewish Communities of Larissa Moses Manouach and of Chalkida Makis Maissis, the Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, Rabbis Isaac Mizan and Hendel Mendel, representatives of Jewish Communities, OPAIE, the Second Generation of Descendants of Holocaust Victims, a group of alumni of the Lauder School and the Pierce project and many people. The event was presented by the Vice President of the Athens Jewish Community Monis Halegoua.

In his address, Secretary General A. Oikonomou, after referring to his hometown of Thessaloniki and the extermination of the city's Jews during the Holocaust, made a comprehensive review of historical data on the operation of the Haidari camp under Nazi administration during the German Occupation. "Memorial places are channels through which we communicate with history," said Mr. Oikonomou characteristically, referring to the importance of the site and the commemorative plaque. The Secretary General concluded his speech by expressing Greece's solidarity with Israel following the blow it received from the terrorist organization Hamas and unequivocally condemned the kidnapping of Israeli hostages, stressing that Greece is playing an active role in de-escalating the crisis.

The President of KIS, Mr. Saltiel during his address he emphasized the importance not only of preserving but also of exploiting the monumental sites. As he emphasized, among other things, "The goal of the memorial sites is exactly this: EDUCATION. To become living tools of interaction with history. Only in this way will they accomplish their lofty goal: To teach society that it must not allow a new Holocaust to happen again, and that each of us is jointly responsible for it. Conscious of this responsibility, it is our hope that the museological promotion of this place of atrocity as a beacon of historical memory will go even further."

The unveiling of the plaque followed, and then Albertos Taraboulous, President of the Athens Jewish Community, in his speech, highlighted the particularities of this year's Yom Ha Shoah, that is being held for the first time in a military camp, pointing out that "most of us who are here today have relatives who passed through the martyrdom of Block 15". Mr Taraboulous said that "this year we commemorate Yom Ha Shoah under the burden of the October 7 attack on Israel and the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide, a phenomenon which means that the causes that gave birth to the Holocaust are still deeply rooted in society."

There followed the speech of Nissim Benmayor, member of the Board of the Athens Jewish Community, who referred to historical data about the camp as a place of martyrdom and the speech of the historian Philip Carabot, who referred to the stories of three of the 10 identified Jews who were executed in Block 15 and "left their last breath here", as characteristically inscribed on the marble plaque: Haim Levi, from Ioannina, Leon Iosif Akris, from Xanthi, and Haim Yaakov Melamet, from Smyrna.

The President of the Association of Descendants of Holocaust Victims, Bella Aaron spoke "with words from the bottom of our hearts, addressing a warm greeting to Haidari and the meaning that this word has for us, the descendants of the Holocaust survivors". B. Aaron symbolically referred to the nine members of her family who passed from Haidari to continue the journey with no return to Auschwitz, from where only her father, the sole survivor of a family of 19 who lived in Arta and Athens, returned. "NEVER AGAIN is NOW and we who grew up in homes that were overshadowed by the experience of the camps must be vigilant and react", the President of the Second Generation stressed.

The sufferings of the prisoners in Block 15 came to life in the excerpts of two books - testimonies about the Holocaust, which were read by the daughters of their authors.

Lisa Sevilla – Cohen read excerpts from her father's book, "Errikos Sevillia. Thessaloniki - Auschwitz" and Nelli Leon from her father's book "Marcel Natzari. Manuscripts 1944 – 1947"

The Eli Eli hymn was performed by Solly Johanna and then graduates of the Lauder Jewish School and the Pierce project sang the song of peace and read the names of the Jews who were killed in Haidari.

Subsequently, a memorial service for the victims was performed by the Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, followed by the laying of wreaths, a minute's silence, the playing of the national anthem by a military band and military honors.

The event concluded with a guided tour of Block 15 by the historian and author Anna Maria Droubouki and the historian Ayati Benardou, researcher at the Institute of Information Systems of EK Athina, who spoke about the initiatives for the museological promotion of the site through digital methods.


Presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Antonios Oikonomou at the Unveiling Ceremony of the Plaque for the Greek Jews