David Saltiel, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), has issued the following statement to mark the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule:
“Freedom requires virtue and boldness,” it is with these verses of the poet Andreas Calvos that Greeks made headway and built modern Greece, a State that unites roots and tradition with Philosophy, Letters and Arts. Greece fought and managed to resist against its enemies protecting the values of National Independence, Freedom and Democracy.
The Greek Jewry, an integral part of the Greek people, was active in the formation of the modern Greek State.
We struggled together during the Balkan wars and fought to gain our freedom in the First World War. All together we resisted against Fascism and Nazism in the Second World War striving to maintain our common principles and stop barbarism.
We participated by boosting the cultural evolution of our homeland, in poetry, literature, historic research, arts and theatre.
We contributed to the economic and scientific growth of our country, commerce and industrial progress, architecture, education, jurisprudence and medicine.
We stood side by side in our worksites, in harbors and tobacco factories, playing a leading role in gaining respect and equal rights for all.
We were together struggling in social fights against racism and antisemitism.
We were irretrievably devastated by the deportation and the extermination of 67,000 Greek Jews in the Nazi death camps; we mourn and remember…
Yet we managed to rise from the ashes of our brothers … and build up the solid foundations of modern Greece, where its citizens can live in harmony, based on the principles of the Greek Constitution that fortifies equality for all citizens regardless of skin color, race or religion. We joined our efforts to forge the values of humanism against the preachers of darkness.
Today, we celebrate all together the bicentennial of the Greek war of independence that enlightened the hearts of the Greeks and led to the liberation and the foundation of the Modern Greek State. We celebrate 200 years of fights for Freedom, 200 years of Civilization, 200 years of defending high values and ideals for all Humanity.