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Day of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust

Thessaloniki paid a heavy toll in the period of Nazi occupation, on the altar of inhuman and unhealthy Nazi plans, the so-called "final solution."

The approximately 50,000 indigenous Greek Jews members of a flourishing social, economic, cultural life of Thessaloniki's Jewish community were led to crematoria, on nineteen rail death missions, from the old station (March to August of 1943). Less than 2,000 of them managed to survive and return to Thessaloniki (a thousand of them from the camps and the rest from the countryside, where they had been hiding) in a city that hardly resembled the one they had left behind.

The Greek state, in a particularly difficult period after the World War II and before the civil war, was among the first ones in Europe to adopt laws on the restitution of property. Many Jewish beneficiaries fought in courts for years to prove that they own their property as their title deeds had been lost or destroyed, and their relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, friends, witnesses who could confirm ownership of property had died.

Today we celebrate with the rest of Greeks, the "Day of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust," that the Greek parliament adopted, unanimously, by Law 3218/2004 (Government Gazette A 12). It is the first time since the day it was established that a delegation of Greek Jews will attend a special session of the parliament plenum held on the occasion on Wednesday. Guests of honour will be the Greek Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. "It is an important day as because though these events we condemn intolerance, anti-Semitism and racism and we give a message to the younger generations. This day is not only for the Jews. It is for the lessons the Holocaust has taught us. We must not forget, we should draw conclusions so that such things do not happen again," the president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel told ANA-MPA.

Thessaloniki has been declared a "martyr city" since 2012 and is included in the "Martyr Cities & Villages of Greece Network."