President Reuven Rivlin at the Greek Holocaust Memorial Museum .
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin said at ceremony laying a cornerstone for a Holocaust museum in Thessaloniki on Tuesday that the genocide “is not solely a matter of Jewish interest. It is something that concerns the whole world and was a national calamity for Greece.”
The ceremony was attended by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Thessaloniki Mayor Yannis Boutaris and World Jewish Congress vice president David Saltiel, who is also the president of Greece’s Jewish community.
Rivlin is on a four-day visit to Greece.
In an address at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in Athens on Monday, Rivlin urged Jews in Greece to firmly oppose the extremists “who conceal antisemitism beneath the guise of delegitimizing Israel.”
“There is no such thing as loving Israelis and hating Jews, or loving Jews and hating Israelis,” he said.
Noting that Auschwitz has become a symbol for the Holocaust, Rivlin underscored the obligation, not only of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, to remember the atrocities that took place there.
Rivlin said of the Polish legislation to outlaw calling death camps on Polish soil
“Polish death camps”: “This decision is a reminder that we are still beholden to fight for the memory of the Holocaust, as it happened.”
“Research into the Holocaust must be free, open, and sincere. The duty to remember is a duty to recognize, to know, to try and understand what happened – with the aim of ensuring ‘Never Again,’” he said.
Among those in attendance were some of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Greece, Itzik Mizen, 90, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau; Frances Hogo, 90, who survived Bergen-Belsen; Fortunita Hananel Gani, 91, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau; and David Moshe, 95, who survived Mauthausen.