Thursday October 30, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o 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)  
IMF cautions Greece on early withdrawal from program
In Athens, NATO chief sees spike in Russian flights on border
Germany denies backing proposal for Greece to exit aid program
Boy, 13, dies after falling from fifth floor in Thessaloniki
Italy, Greece banks lead Europe decliners amid capital concerns
Italian and Greek banks led stock declines among the region’s lenders after European Banking Authority Chairman Andrea Enria said stress tests completed last week aren’t foolproof and more m...
European stocks tumble as banks decline after Enria’s comments
European stocks retreated, erasing earlier gains, as banks from peripheral euro-area nations tumbled. U.S. index futures and Asian shares also declined. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.7 p...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Greece drops Samaras for Euro 2016 qualifier
Greece coach Claudio Ranieri has dropped striker Georgios Samaras from the national team after a dismal start to European Championship qualifying. Samaras, who plays for West Bromwich Albion...
BASKETBALL
Panathinaikos and PAOK retain perfect record
The third round of games in the Basket League over the weekend saw PAOK overcome the strong resistance of host KAOD at Drama, and Panathinaikos and Olympiakos inflict heavy losses on AEK and...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Time is running out in Afghanistan
Thirteen years after the attacks on the Twin Towers and NATO's entry into the war in Afghanistan, things remain pretty much unchanged: Political instability and insecurity  reign in the Cent...
COMMENTARY
Cool heads required
It’s time for Athens and Nicosia to deal with the current situation in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which a Turkish seismic research vessel has breached against international law,...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. IMF cautions Greece on early withdrawal from program
2. In Athens, NATO chief sees spike in Russian flights on border
3. Greece drops Samaras for Euro 2016 qualifier
4. Germany denies backing proposal for Greece to exit aid program
5. Boy, 13, dies after falling from fifth floor in Thessaloniki
6. Italy, Greece banks lead Europe decliners amid capital concerns
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek euro dilemma is back as minister predicts volatility
2. Students hijack university senate meeting
3. Clientelism belongs to the past, says Mitsotakis
4. Over 1,500 buildings and vehicles damaged in flash floods
5. Peripheral banks lead European shares lower after positive start
6. European stocks tumble as banks decline after Enria’s comments
Today
This Week
1. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
2. Austria’s creative bookkeeping beats Greece on secret debts
3. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
4. End of reason, end of humanity
5. Clean bill of health for Greek banks from stress tests
6. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.