by Alice Cohen – Moses
The families of Captain Vassilis and Fotini Siskopoulos, Nikolaou and Pelagia Giata, and Captain Georgiou and Anastasia Piciava from Litochoro, were honored by the grandchildren of Emmanuel and Emma Hazan, Aliki Cohen-Moussi, Fikos Saltiel and David Hazan, for rescuing their grandparents and of their parents, Ettis, Russel and Moshe during the German Occupation.
The event took place in the packed meeting room of the Dion-Olympus Municipal Council on Sunday, December 18, 2022. The event was opened by Alice Cohen - Moses, which made a brief review of the events that marked the history of her family. As soon as war was declared in October 1940, Captain Giorgos Siskopoulos, who lived with his family near Emmanuel Hazan's family in Thessaloniki, suggested that he take them to Litochoro in his boat (Agios Spyridon) that was carrying coal. The Captain was a Litochorite and since he too had children the same age as the Hazan family he thought there would be more security there
in the period of war. Thus, the five-member Jewish family was moved to Litochoro, where it remained throughout the Occupation, hidden in the homes of the other families honored at the event.
In his greeting, Mr Mayor of Dion-Olympus, Mr. Vangelis Geroliolios he emphasized that the event is characterized by the universal values of humanity, solidarity and helping fellow human beings. The rescue of the Jewish family at that time by the Litochori families, the Mayor said, proves the universality that should characterize our thinking even today, emphatically showing that we all have a responsibility to not allow similar events to happen again.
of Kostas Vergou
Being the seasoned journalist that she is, Yvette had to exercise her storytelling skills, to show that "we must not let hate have the last word."
Personal stories that intersect with world history is the multi-translated and EMMY award-winning book "Something Beautiful Happened" ("Something beautiful happened") by Yvette Manesis Korporon, a Greek-American from Ereikousio.
A human story of her of Erikousa and the Jews of Corfu during the German occupation, next to a story of hatred and murder in America seven decades later.
The medals and the title of "Right of Nations" of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel were awarded, on 9.9.2021, at an event in Komotini, to Vasiliki and Dimitrios Kiakidis, by the ambassador of Israel, Yossi Amrani, for the rescue of the Greek Jewess Donna Rodrig in World War II. The event was hosted by the mayor of Komotini Ioannis Garanis and the Municipality at the Tsanaklio Municipal Library and was organized in collaboration with the Israeli embassy.
As stated in a statement from the Israeli embassy in Greece, Vassiliki and Dimitrios were recognized as "Righteous" posthumously and the award was received by Dimitrios Kiakidis, grandson of the awardees.
The event was also attended by, among others, the regional governor of Eastern Macedonia Thrace Christos Metios, the Metropolitan of Maroneia and Komotini Panteleimon and local bodies.
The The Central Jewish Council of Greece was represented at the ceremony by the XNUMXnd Vice-President Mr. Maurice Magrizos, who in his speech referred to the multiple and meaningful messages transmitted by the rescue story of Dona Rodrígue pointing out among other things: "Listening to the stories of self-sacrifice of the Righteous Among the Nations we always feel shivers of emotion and admiration for those people who acted at the risk of their own of their lives to help their fellow man. As a representative of the Central Jewish Council of Greece, which represents the Jews of our country, I am always shocked when I think that when there are such bonds of brotherhood and mutual understanding, not only a family can be saved, but an entire society. Today, humanity is once again going through one of its most difficult periods, due to the spread of fanaticism, fundamentalism and terrorism, and the rise of anti-Semitic rhetoric. That is why it is important to learn and show stories of humanity and brotherhood, such as the rescue of Dona Rodríguez by the Kiakidis family. Because knowledge and education are the only weapons against the spread of hatred."
"He who saves a life, saves the whole world." This phrase from the Jewish holy book, the Talmud, sums up, perhaps most accurately, the meaning of the Righteous Among the Nations title, which the Yad Vashem Foundation, which keeps alive the flame of historical memory, bestows upon people who at the risk of their own lives saved their fellow Jews during the Occupation. People like Vasiliki Athyridou, who at 106 years old could not hide her emotion, when she was called, today, to receive from the hands of the adviser of the Israeli embassy in Greece, Sausan Hasson, the certificate of the title of Righteous Nations, which awarded by Yad Vashem to her and her husband, Costas Athiridis, who is no longer alive.
It was the Athirides couple who, defying the danger, opened their home and their arms and saved Marko and Ida Assael and their three children, Freddy, Janine and Jacqueline (Lulu) from the Nazi death machine.
“Those of you living and those of you no longer have a special place in our hearts of eternal gratitude. I see my family around me, children, grandchildren, relatives and on behalf of all I have to thank you with all my heart because we exist thanks to you". These words belong to the president of the Jewish Community of Karditsa, Makis Kapeta, during the unveiling event of the "eternal gratitude and recognition" monument, which took place today, June 18, 2017 at noon in the village of Amarantos (Pr. Mastrogiannis). The inhabitants of which, from the autumn of 1943 to the summer of 1944, offered safe shelter from the German occupation troops and hospitality, distributing the little food they had in their homes, to 62 Jews of Karditsa and another 20 from Thessaloniki, the Volos and Trikala. And most importantly, as emphasized by the speakers, not a single resident was found to report this fact to the Germans.
With tears in his eyes and emotion until the conclusion of his speech, the representative of the Central Israeli Council, Solomon Parente, he mentioned that his personal, family history is connected to this land, to this village and the big-heartedness of its inhabitants, to explain: “One of these heroic families saved my mother's parents and siblings. My uncle, Danny Ezra, is here today with us. He came from Israel - where he lives - to walk again in the alleys of this beautiful mountain village which then - amid the uncertainty of the Occupation - offered him the most precious and hard to find thing: Safety".
This monument, emphasized the Dimitris Sioufas, former president of the Hellenic Parliament, will remind the centuries of this story of solidarity, humanitarianism, heroism, for the rescue of 82 Jews, 62 from Karditsa and another 20 from Trikala, Volos and Thessaloniki, from the residents of Amarandos, the beautiful Mastroiannis. During the years of occupation, Mr. Sioufas added, and of the persecutions by the German invaders, they embraced them, sheltered them, shared any food as their own people, to conclude: "What we live today here in Amaranth, with the presence of such important people is not only done to honor and remember its brave inhabitants, but also to send a message to the whole world so that such barbarities never happen again."
Robert Bonfil, Emeritus Professor of Jewish History at the University of Jerusalem, also gave a big thank you, as he and his family were hosted in the neighboring village of Apidia and all of them were rescued.