The late Angelo Chalikias, a Greek Montrealer who went to extraordinary personal lengths to save the life of Niso Moustaki, a young Jewish man he barely knew, was honored, posthumously through his who were bestowed with Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations medal and certificate at a special ceremony at Montreal city hall.
The ceremony was attended by Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, as well as Joël Lion, consul general of Israel to Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces and Thanos Kafopoulos consul general of Greece.
Niso, whose family hailed from Corfu, escaped from a Nazi detention facility after the deportation of the island’s 1,850 Jews to Lefkas in 1944.
In Spanochori, Angelo, who knew the Moustakis, intervened when he witnessed Niso being confronted by a local Nazi collaborator.
Risking everything, Angelo told the man that Niso was under his custody, where he ultimately remained for several months until returning home covertly.
Upon his arrival, Niso learned that his entire family, except for his brother Shlomo, had perished at Auschwitz.
In 1957 the late Niso wrote: “Through his own free and good will … he took upon himself to hide me. … He endangered both his own life and that of his family. If I am alive today in Israel … it is only due to Mr. Chalikias.”
Throughout the world, 24,811 individuals are recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations.” As Thanos Kafopoulos, is consul general of Greece in Montreal, noted, “Many more lives could have been saved if more people had followed their example.”
Mr Kafopoulos added, “On this day, we join the city of Montreal and its citizens in remembering the 6 million victims of the Holocaust. And we pay special homage to Angelo Chalikias and the other “Righteous” who demonstrated the true meaning of civility and humanity.”