Initial approval issued for building of Thessaloniki Holocaust Museum

Initial approval issued for building of Thessaloniki Holocaust Museum

The municipality of Thessaloniki issued an initial approval of the construction of the Holocaust Museum in the city, Mayor Konstantinos Zervas said on Thursday. 

According to the Municipality, the procedures with which its services were charged proceeded at the fastest possible pace to implement a commitment, which the mayor had undertaken to grant pre-approval within the current month.

The municipality said its services proceeded “at the fastest possible pace” to implement the commitment to issue the initial permit within a month.

In previous years, local authorities allocated more than 10,000 square meters of land, ensuring the appropriate room for the museum, the creation of the necessary access, parking spaces and common areas.

The decision to build a Holocaust Museum was taken about a decade ago and a memorandum of cooperation was signed in 2013 during the mayorship of Yannis Boutaris between the Thessaloniki municipality, the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and GAIAOSE, the company and developing property for Greece’s Hellenic Railways; the site, at Thessaloniki Rail Cargo Station, was the location from which nearly 50,000 Jews were sent to their deaths in German concentration camps during World War II.

The leasing of the land to the Israeli Community took place in 2014 and the Presidential Decree approving changes in the building code was published in 2017.

It was found, after the fact, that not all the land leased to the Jewish Community belonged to Hellenic Railways; moreover, the space was small, just enough to build the museum on. A swap of land between Hellenic Railways and the municipality of Thessaloniki was decided and approved by a 2021 law and the amended Presidential Decree published on November 18, 2022.

The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki will oversee construction of the €29 million project.

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