Friday November 28, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
16o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Gauck makes historic gesture of apology for WWII crimes in Ioannina

German President Joachim Gauck (right) leans in to embrace 90-year-old Esthir Cohen (left) during a visit to a synagogue in Ioannina on Friday. Cohen is one of just two Jews still alive in the northwestern town today who survived the Holocaust and made it back from Auschwitz.

While visiting a village in northwestern Greece, where Nazis executed 92 of its 96 residents, German President Joachim Gauck Friday became the first official from his country to apologize for his countrymen’s actions at the site, as well as in other parts of Greece.

Gauck visited the village of Ligiades in Epirus on the last day of his three-day visit to Greece with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, a resistance fighter during the Second World War. Nazi occupying forces shot 92 residents of the village as reprisals for the rebels’ actions.

“I wish to articulate what the perpetrators and those who were politically responsible for so many years in the postwar period did not do or were not able to utter,” Gauck said.

“What happened here was a brutal injustice, and it is with feelings of shame and pain that I beg forgiveness from the families of those who were murdered,” added the German president, who was the first official from his country to apologize for the Nazis’ actions while visiting one of the sites of their atrocities in Greece.

Gauck also said that he regretted the fact there had been no official apology before. “This creates a second form of guilt,” he said. He thanked Papoulias for organizing the trip, which he suggested would help reconciliation between the two countries.

During his visit to Greece, however, Gauck rebuffed calls from Papoulias and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos for Germany to examine Greek claims for war reparations, particularly the repayment of a large loan the Bank of Greece was forced to provide the Nazi regime.

At Ligiades, members of the local committee for war reparations unfurled a banner demanding “Justice and reparations.”

Gauck also visited the Ioannina synagogue, where he again expressed regret about the way the local Jewish community suffered at the hands of Nazi occupiers. A total of 1,725 men, women and children were sent to concentration camps in March 1944. Hardly any of them returned. “I came to pay my respects,” said a tearful Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor. “Germany acknowledges its crimes and we will never let this be forgotten so it does not happen again.”

The German president met the only two surviving members of the Jewish community from 1944, Esthir Cohen and Janet Sevi, at the synagogue. “What happened must not be forgotten. It has to be taught to the next generations,” said Cohen, who spoke for the first time about her experiences to Kathimerini earlier this week.

“We are prepared to forgive but not to forget,” said Moses Elisaf, a professor at the local university.

Earlier, at a lunch held in honor of the German president, Gauck told members of the Jewish community that his visit had been a “lifetime goal.”

“When I meet the Lord up there, I will tell him that I asked for forgiveness at the place where the suffering took place,” Gauck is reported to have said.

ekathimerini.com , Friday March 7, 2014 (20:38)  
Moscovici urges Athens to ´take necessary measures,´ make way for troika´s return
Venizelos urges Turkey to respect Cyprus EEZ
Minister opposes plans to establish Islamic Studies department at Thessaloniki university
Samaras meets Venizelos ahead of Turkey visit
As prices keep falling, Greeks finally start to spend
At Greek home appliance retail chain Electroniki, a washing machine cost 497 euros six years ago. Today, it sells for 356 euros. Like most Greek companies, Electroniki has slashed prices to ...
Greek bank deposits drop in Oct, pause seven-month rise
Greek bank deposits dropped slightly in October after rising in the previous seven months, central bank data showed on Friday. Business and household deposits dropped 0.15 percent month-on-m...
Inside Business
SOCCER
PAOK is one win from Europa League´s last 32
A late brace by Stefanos Athanasiadis gifted PAOK a precious win at Dynamo Minsk on Thursday, meaning that the Thessaloniki team is one win away from graduating from the group stage of the E...
BASKETBALL
First defeat for Olympiakos in Euroleague
Olympiakos suffered its first Euroleague loss of the season going down 89-70 at Laboral Kutxa on Thursday, although the Greek team remains the favorite to clinch the top spot in its pool. Th...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Change of US president won´t mean change of foreign policy
Americans have again voted for change in Washington as opposition Republicans take control of both houses of the US Congress. As attention now turns to the 2016 presidential race, it's time ...
COMMENTARY
The presidential election paradox
A few days ago, speaking with a visiting colleague who neither works in Europe nor covers events here, I suddenly felt how much we Greeks take for granted some things that should have worrie...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Moscovici urges Athens to ´take necessary measures,´ make way for troika´s return
2. As prices keep falling, Greeks finally start to spend
3. Venizelos urges Turkey to respect Cyprus EEZ
4. Greek bank deposits drop in Oct, pause seven-month rise
5. Greek retail sales rise for fourth month in a row in September
6. Greek economy expands 0.7 pct q/q in Q3
more news
Today
This Week
1. Child molester suspect photo released by police
2. Athens water supply 9-month profit falls 45 pct on lower charges
3. Lebanese FM: Cyprus may be jihadi transit point
4. Armed man arrested on Thessaloniki campus
5. Change of US president won't mean change of foreign policy
6. Minister opposes plans to establish Islamic Studies department at Thessaloniki university
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Extremism from a bygone era
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Greece paralyzed by major strike, flights cancelled
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. Cosco’s Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.