Holocaust Day set for January 18

Following repeated appeals by Jewish leaders in Greece, Athens is to declare January 18 a national day of remembrance to mark the extermination of Greek Jews in World War II concentration camps, sources said yesterday. The decision, taken by Education Minister Petros Efthymiou following consultations with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, is expected to be officially announced soon. On January 18, 1945, allied forces entered the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. According to ministry sources, the day of remembrance will be commemorated in schools all over the country with speeches by teachers concerning the holocaust of Greece’s Jewish population. Germany’s extermination program against the Jews all but wiped out the once-flourishing Jewish community of Thessaloniki. Some 55,000 of the city’s Jews were deported to concentration camps, and only 1,200 survived, 60 of whom are still alive. Berlin is reportedly close to granting pensions to these survivors. Thessaloniki’s Jewish community has sued the German State for 10 million euros, the equivalent amount paid in ransom for 2,000 of its members in 1942.

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