Friday August 29, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o 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)  
Kouvelis avoids ruling out his potential candidacy for Greek president
Greek PM to meet Juncker in Brussels, host Coelho, Rajoy in Athens
Tight security in place for City of Athens ceremony as GD MP, supporters to attend
Dozens of migrants intercepted in the Aegean
Athens water utility´s net income falls to 15.6 mln euros
The Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company’s (EYDAP) first-half net income fell to 15.6 million euros from 33.9 million in the same period of 2013, according to its financial statement pub...
Greek stocks head south for fourth month in a row
The Athens Exchange general index headed south on Friday, falling by 0.49 percent to 1,161.81 points. This was the lowest point the bourse hit all day, having risen as high as 1,182.34 point...
Inside Business
Iliadis triples up as Aguiar stuns Tcheumeo
Greek star Ilias Iliadis claimed his third world title in the under-90kg category in Chelyabinsk on Friday as Brazilian Mayra Aguiar and Colombian Yuri Alvear won gold in the women’s under-7...
SOCCER
New Greece coach Ranieri promises to give youth a chance
Claudio Ranieri has promised to give young players a chance after being officially presented as the new coach of Greece. The much-travelled Italian signed a two-year deal in July to have his...
Inside Sports
ANALYSIS
Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
As Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras tries to follow Ireland and Portugal out the bailout exit door, he faces a month of bargaining. For a nation that’s already gone through the biggest d...
COMMENTARY
Stifled dreams
At more or less the same time every year, we see the same images of high school graduates looking through the Education Ministry’s lists of those who passed and those who failed the national...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Athens water utility´s net income falls to 15.6 mln euros
2. Greek stocks head south for fourth month in a row
3. Greek bank Piraeus reports Q2 profit of 164 mln euros
4. Greece´s Eurobank posts 301-mln-euro loss in Q2
5. Iliadis triples up as Aguiar stuns Tcheumeo
6. New Greece coach Ranieri promises to give youth a chance
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
2. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
3. Dozens of migrants intercepted in the Aegean
4. Rendi shootout leaves would-be hypermarket robber dead
5. Gov't jet carrying Venizelos back from Turkey conducts emergency landing
6. Finance Minister holds final preparatory talks before Paris meet with troika
Today
This Week
1. Brussels warns Greece over plans to allow construction near Korinos beach
2. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
3. Merkel cites euro’s ‘construction flaws’ as economy sputters
4. Purification rituals
5. Second man held over double murder in Mani
6. The battle against progress
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.