Thursday October 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
22o C
16o 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)  
Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire suspect arrested over bail violation
Highway traffic to be disrupted on Corinth-Patra route
Samaras to represent Anastasiades at European Council meeting
Cyprus president to sit out EU summit due to high blood pressure
Solidarity tax to be extended for two years
Greek taxpayers will continue to pay an extra solidarity tax on income in the next two years, but at a 30 percent discount compared to current rates, it emerged on Thursday. The emergency ta...
Spanish unemployment lowest since 2011 as economy grows
Spain’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest since the end of 2011 in the third quarter as its economy turned into one of the fastest-growing in the euro region. Joblessness fell to 23.7 per...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Roberto´s heroics make Kasami´s goal count
Pajtim Kasami’s goal and Roberto’s heroics in goal saw Olympiakos claim one of the biggest wins in its history on Wednesday downing Italian champion Juventus 1-0 to boost its chances of reac...
SOCCER
Third-division Iroditos punished heavily after fan death
Greek third division team Irodotos has been docked 15 points and ordered to play 10 matches behind closed doors following the death of an Ethnikos Piraeus supporter, the Hellenic Football Fe...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Defusing a crisis
The crisis in Cyprus is escalating rapidly and defusing it is an extremely delicate and complicated procedure that will inevitably lead to losses for the weakest of the two sides. The course...
EDITORIAL
PM needs to step up
The public perception of the government is anything but good right now. The coalition is projecting an image of discord and constant disputes show that key ministers are unable to stay on th...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire suspect arrested over bail violation
2. Highway traffic to be disrupted on Corinth-Patra route
3. Solidarity tax to be extended for two years
4. Spanish unemployment lowest since 2011 as economy grows
5. EU requests clarification on Italy´s ´breach´ of budget goals
6. German survey props up European shares
more news
Today
This Week
1. Strong winds hamper sea travel
2. TBEX brings together 800 travel bloggers in Athens
3. Cyprus president to sit out EU summit due to high blood pressure
4. Samaras to represent Anastasiades at European Council meeting
5. Arrivals show increase in January-June 2014 period
6. Spanish unemployment lowest since 2011 as economy grows
Today
This Week
1. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
2. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
3. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
4. Greece’s closed society is central to its current malaise
5. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
6. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.