Aristotle University in Thessaloniki is to get a chair in Hebrew studies for the first time in almost 80 years, it was announced on Thursday after a meeting between rector Yiannis Mylopoulos and David Saltiel, the head of the city’s Jewish community.
The professorship, which begins in the fall, will cost about 50,000 euros a year and will be covered by the Thessaloniki Jewish Community for the first 12 months.
Sponsorship will be sought after that.
It will be the first time that the university has a Hebrew studies chair since the position was scrapped in 1935, during the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas.
“It is very important because the chair existed between 1930 and 1935, when the Metaxas dictatorship abolished it,” said Saltiel.
“The Holocaust followed that and today the university has decided to restore it. It is a very big decision for us, the university and the city of Thessaloniki.”
The grounds of the university partly occupy a former Jewish cemetery, which was destroyed by the Nazi occupiers in 1943.