Salonika rejects plan to honour lost 55,000

By Solette Eliezer, July 31, 2008

The municipality of the Greek city of Salonika has rejected a proposal to honour victims of the Nazi occupation.

It has rejected a bill tabled on July 17 which would have included Salonika among more than 50 Greek towns known as "martyred cities" whose citizens suffered in the war.

They argued that the 55,000 Salonika Jews who perished during the Holocaust were exterminated in Polish death camps and not on Greek soil.

Moses Constantinis, head of the umbrella body of Greek Jews, told the JC that he had written to the Salonika Mayor, George Papageorgopoulos, protesting that the decision was an insult to the memory of the Salonika Jews who perished in death camps and reminding the authorities that, according to historians, Alexandrian Jews settled in Salonika as early as 140 BCE and were joined by Spanish Jews after the expulsion of 1492.

Today, the 1000 remaining Jews still speak the Ladino dialect.

Last updated: 1:05pm, July 31 2008