Greece joins March of the Living initiative commemorating Kristallnacht

Thessaloniki City Hall will be illuminated throughout the night and messages from Holocaust survivors, together with leaders, and students from around the world will be projected onto its walls.

 Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas
(photo credit: Courtesy)

On the night of November 9-10, 1938, the Nazis organized the murder of Jews and the burning of 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions in Germany and Austria as part of the ״Kristallnacht״ pogrom. This event is one of the seminal moments that led to the Holocaust.

To mark this historical event and to stand in protest to the rise of antisemitic events and hate crimes, International March of the Living launched the ‘Let There Be Light’ global initiative in which individuals, institutions, and houses of worship of all faiths leave their lights on during the night of November 9, as a symbol of mutual responsibility and the shared struggle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance.

In addition to the screening on Thessaloniki City Hall, messages from around the world, will be projected on the Old City Walls in Jerusalem, the Great Synagogue in Budapest, the central synagogue in Warsaw, and the Jewish community building in Jerusalem Square in Paris.

President of Israel, Isaac Herzog welcomed the initiative and commented that, "Among the horrors of the Holocaust, a central and painful place is reserved for Kristallnacht, the terrible pogrom against the Jews of Germany and Austria that symbolizes the turning point in the extermination of European Jewry. The night of Kristallnacht heralded the crossing of a fateful line, the signal to relinquish all restraint. In one night, an underlying sentiment of antisemitism, became the overt expression of the many. We are all committed to fighting and uprooting every incarnation of antisemitism. We will continue to do all we can to remember, memorialize, and ensure that such horrific events are a thing of the past, and the past alone."

European Commission Coordinator on combatting Antisemitism Katherina Von Schnurbein said, “Eighty-three years after Pogrom night antisemitism is on the rise, attacks on Jews, are still a reality. The European Union is united and determined roll back antisemitism through words and action and ensure safety for all Europeans, regardless of their religion or belief, ethnic identity or skin color."

Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas (Credit: Courtesy)Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas (Credit: Courtesy)

Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas noted, “The City of Thessaloniki participates in the global initiative ‘LetThereBeLight’ of the International March of the Living, honoring the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust and especially of the 50,000 innocent Jews of Thessaloniki, 20% of our city’s population in 1943, who were deported and annihilated in the Nazi concentration camps. We do not forget. On the occasion of the 83rd anniversary of the Kristallnacht, we reaffirm our unwavering conviction in the fight against antisemitism and all forms of hatred. For a more humane, more compassionate, a brighter world.”

David Albalas, Chairman of the European March of the Living Network added, “Kristallnacht was the beginning of the great Jewish catastrophe. People, states, governments should understand that always early symptoms show the dangerous disease. Kristallnacht was the early symptom of the Nazi crazy ideology that ked to 6 million Jews to death.”

David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece & President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. (Credit: Courtesy)David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece & President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. (Credit: Courtesy)

David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece & President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki said.

“The sad anniversary of Kristallnacht, reminds us that we must always remain vigilant in the face of intolerance, racism, antisemitism while combating oblivion and the deliberate distortion of the Holocaust.”

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of March of the Living (Credit: Courtesy)Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of March of the Living (Credit: Courtesy)

Dr. Shmuel Rosenman, Chairman of March of the Living said, “The International March of the Living organization has devoted itself to Holocaust education and the fight against antisemitism. Tonight, as we mark 83 years since "Kristallnacht", we call on the world to stop, even for a moment, to remember the horrors of the past and to put up a bright warning sign against the antisemitism that still shamelessly raises its head. I congratulate the European countries that are taking part in the "Let There Be Light" initiative to clearly remember the past and in support of the common struggle against antisemitism. We will continue to work to ensure that Never Means Never.”