Schwartz: The synagogue of Kos - 28.5.01
The synagogue in Kos is located on Odos Alex. Diakou, just behind what everyone
refers to as the "bar street". The gates still bear Stars of David, although the
building is now referred to as an "Aithousa Pollaplon Chriseon" (multi-purpose
cultural center). The insides have been more or less stripped of Jewish identity,
although Stars of David (over the doors and above the central chandelier) remain
intact. Surprisingly little is known about the structure itself, although the
architectural style would suggest that it was built in the 1930s during the Italian
occupation. Outside, around the back, there is what appears to be the remains
of a mikva. The keys are kept at the Kos Cultural Center (Pnevmatikσ Kentro) located
on Vas. Georgiou B. -- the street that runs along the harbor. The center is right
next door to the Kos Tourist Information Center. The people there were very friendly
and perfectly willing to open it up for me. As far as I was able to ascertain,
there is now one survivor who remains to tell the tale. Although, he is not halachically
Jewish (his father was a prominent figure in the Jewish community, his mother
was Greek Orthodox) he clearly feels closely connected to the island's Jewish
history. His name is Victor Menache (pr: meh-NA-sheh) and he runs the jewelry
shop "Michel" on Riga Ferraiou, one of the central shopping streets in Kos Town's
tourist center. The cemetery is also locked (Victor *believes* he has the key).
It's located on the Asklaepion road, and is situated just before the village of
Platani (more like a hamlet). It was open until just a few years ago, when someone
tried to steal some of the marble grave covers. I have found two photographs of
the cemetery by surfing to www.isjm.org/country/greece/kos.htm I hope this helps.
Best regards, Steve Schwartz email@example.com
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Schwartz: Jews of Kos - 27.5.01
I came across yvelia.com while doing a general search for "Jews of Kos". On your
bulletin board I saw two inquiries about the synagogue in Kos town; one from "Lyn
D." and one from "Susan D.A.". I seem to have had more success finding it and
getting inside, and I can supply them (and others) with the information they seek.
Best regards, Steve Schwartz firstname.lastname@example.org
Return to INDEX
D.A.: The synagogue of Kos
Three years ago I was on
the island of Kos and attempted to locate Jewish sites of the area. I was
told by a local resident a synagogue stands on the town square (near the
Knight's Castle and harbor)and that it was converted into a mosque during
muslim invasion. He added that a Jewish cemetery is locaated on the main
road leading away from the town square.
I was not able
to locate either. I'm an amatuer photographer and took photo's of the mosque.
In a search for the cemetery I was only able to locate heavily wooded areas
with no sign of a cemetery.
my trip when I was in Athens-I attempted to make inquiry at the "Jewish
Museum." However, I missed their opening as it was closed to the public
due to moving their location. I would like to make the trip again to complete
more photographs but at a loss for information. Do you have any knowledge
on the status of Jewish sites of Kos?
Regards, Susan D. A.
Return to INDEX
Lyn J.: Synagogue
in Kos Town, Kos - 9.8.00
I wonder if you could supply me
with any information on the above synagogue. I understand it has a beautiful
Art Deco interior. On a recent visit, however, I found the gates firmly
padlocked. No-one seemed to know when they were ever unlocked. Many thanks
Jewish Tombstones at the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki - 15.6.00
I had seen not a plaque but two
low-wide steps bearing Hebrew inscriptions; those were vandalized/broken
some time during the 80's (I believe) and have by now been replaced by
H.: Jewish Tombstones at the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki -
Once again, my feeling is that very
few Salonikans will know anything about it - but quite a few Torontians,
Los Angelians and San Franciscans. The Parisienne Marie-Elisabeth Handman
I met last week did see a similar stone next to the Philosophiki Sholi.
Well, at least she has spent some years in Greece and has even written
a book on relations between greek men and women in the countryside ("Via
kai Poniria" in greek).
For those who do not know it - such
argumentation (like in the case of the religion in Ids too) usually backfires
against the jews when palestinians start to speak about their graveyards
in Israel : one of them under Tel-Aviv Hilton, one right in the middle
of Herzlia, one in Hof Dado in Haifa and one in the way between Nesher
and Kibbuts Yagur (with the grave of no less than Az-A-Din-Il-Kasam, Palestinian
Homeini of the 30ies) - just to name a few. Old jewish saying : people
who live in houses
made of glass should know not to
throw stones. Kerem's last bulletin also had an article (by Miron Benvenishti?)
on the location of Tel-Aviv University.
Jewish Tombstones at the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki - 15.6.00
I am told there is a Hebrew plaque
or sign on the grounds of the Aristotelian University that can be found
in the path in front of the Meteo building, leading to the school of agriculture.
Has any one seen it and what is it about?
Diana Z.: Cemetery
desecration in Athens - 8.6.00
One thing that has stunned me is
to know that the same things happen in Greece and in Argentina, with regard
to attacking cemeteries. Here, they say it is the police, who are antisemitic
and nazi by nature. Who are supposed to do it in Greece? Isn't it more
than a simple coincidence? The way of performing this terrible action is
quite alike. Are there any handbooks of "How to destroy a Jewish Cemetery"
on the internet maybe? Well, anyway, one thing that most on the NGF fellows
have agreed is that we
have found out how many similarities
there are among our lives, the things that happen to us, the way we feel
and act, etc.
Reveka K.: The
Athens cemetery desecrated - 28.5.00
I don't know if you heard, but here
in Athens, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated early on Friday morning...
Nina, Simo and myself went there yesterday, as soon as we found out...The
sight was horrible... Swastikas and Nazi signs on the Holocaust memorial
and on many graves, as well as on the walls of the small temple where funerals
are held... Of course, we were very
disturbed and shocked, I don't know
what steps the Community will take, and in what way we can protect ourselves.
To be honest, I feel scared... I thought you ought to know
about all this. I think it has to don with this ID's thing, I don't know
heard. It is about not writing
religion on the ID's. The Church is stongly opposed to this.
I don't know how things will turn out.
K. P.: The Cemetry in Ioannina - 26.5.00
I am a descendent of Jews from Ioannina.
All four of my grandparents worshipped in the syngague in Ioannina and
generations of my ancestors are buried in the cemetery there. I visited
Ioannina for the first time two summers ago and was heartbroken when I
went to pay respects at the graves of my ancestors. The cemetry has been
vandalized. Tombstones have been turned over and most of the gravesites
lie under rubble and undergrowth.
This summer I
am returning to Ioannina to have my son celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in the
synagogue of his ancestors. It is supposed to be a joyous event, but our
festivities will be overshadowed by the state of our cemetry.
I am not Greek
and I do not understand Greek politics or the bureaucratic procedures that
must be followed. All I know is that we (descendents of Jews from Ioannina
who have family members buried in the cemetery there) have asked the municipality
of Ioannina for a permit to erect a protective wall around the cemetery,
so that the vandalism will be stopped. The last time we
were in Ioannina we were wined and
dined by the Mayor, the Prefecty and the Governor of Ioannina, all of whom
assured us that there was no problem in issuing this permit. Two years
have passed. A new Mayor is in office and we still do not have the permit.
What is the problem? We only want to build a wall on our own property.
We are not asking for money. We will raise the funds ourselves.
I read with interest
about the visit of Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Papandreou to Israel and
applaud this effort on their part to foster better Israeli/Greek relations,
but before they spout their great concern for the Jewish people, shouldn't
they look in their own backyard and see how we are treated by representatives
of their own government within Greece itself? I would like Mr. Stephanopoulos
and Mr. Papandreiou to visit the Jewish cemetery in Ioannina and then they
can tell me how concerned they are for us Jews!
(Αυγή) - 30.4.00
Γράφαμε χθες για τη βεβήλωση εβραϊκών
τάφων της συναγωγής στη Θεσσαλονίκη και τονίζαμε την ανυπαρξία αντιδράσεων.
Χθες δύο αντιδράσεις με σημασία ήρθαν να μας "διαψεύσουν" -και χαιρόμαστε
γι' αυτό. Ο εκπρόσωπος του υπουργείου Εξωτερικών κ. Π. Μπεγλίτης καταδίκασε
"με τον πλέον κατηγορηματικό τρόπο τη βεβήλωση" και τόνισε ότι "η ασέβεια
η οποία επεδείχθη εις βάρος ιερών τόπων και συμβόλων της ισραηλιτικής κοινότητας
της Ελλάδος προσβάλλει βάναυσα την ιστορική μνήμη της Θεσσαλονίκης, για
την διατήρηση της οποίας η ελληνική κυβέρνηση, απονέμουσα τιμή στους Έλληνες
Εβραίους, θύματα του ναζισμού, ανήγειρε,
προ τριετίας, μνημείο του Ολοκαυτώματος". Από την πλευρά του το γραφείο
Τύπου του Συνασπισμού "καταδικάζει το νέο προκλητικό χτύπημα φασιστοειδών
εις βάρος του μνημείου των Εβραίων Θεσσαλονικέων που έχασαν τη ζωή τους
στα ναζιστικά στρατόπεδα". Και συμπληρώνει: "Βεβηλώνουν την ιστορία και
προκαλούν την ελληνική κοινωνία τέτοιου είδους ανησυχητικά φαινόμενα που
τελευταία πληθαίνουν. Δεν πρόκειται για μεμονωμένα περιστατικά λίγων φανατικών,
αλλά για οργανωμένο σχέδιο προκλήσεων. Η επαναφορά των επιθέσεων και των
ναζιστικών συνθημάτων και εμβλημάτων από τη 'Χρυσή Αυγή' και τα νεοφασιστικά
κυκλώματα απαιτεί εγρήγορση όλων των πολιτικών και κοινωνικών δυνάμεων".
Τέλος ο ΣΥΝ καλεί την κυβέρνηση, τα κόμματα και την κοινωνία των πολιτών
να αποκηρύξουν και να καταδικάσουν τέτοιου είδους επικίνδυνες για τη δημοκρατία
και τον τόπο φασιστικές και ρατσιστικές εκδηλώσεις.
Φωνή (Αυγή) - 30.4.00
αχάριστος φωνή* Τη νύχτα της 20ης
Απριλίου η \"Χρυσή Αυγή"\ εσύλησε το μνημείο του Oλοκαυτώματος στη Θεσσαλονίκη,
όπως και τη Συναγωγή * Πέντε μέρες αργότερα δεν είχε υπάρξει μέριμνα να
σβηστούν τα σημάδια * Μάλλον περίμεναν το συνεργείο της ΑΥΓΗΣ να τα φωτογραφίσει
* Ουδείς, πλην μιας ΜΚΟ, διαμαρτυρήθηκε για τη βεβήλωση από τη "Χρυσή Αυγή"*
την έβγαλαν καθαρή ** Άλλοι Χρυσαυγίτες
όμως έκατσαν στο σκαμνί, επειδή την ίδια μέρα \έκαψαν τουρκική σημαία\
έξω από το ξενοδοχείο Ιντερκοντινένταλ, όπου έγινε ελληνοτουρκική επίδειξη
μόδας * \Περίεργο \* Πριν δυόμισι χρόνια τρεις φοιτητές στη Μυτιλήνη έκατσαν
στο σκαμνί για τον αντίθετο λόγο * Κατηγορήθηκαν ότι ήθελαν να \αναρτήσουν
τουρκική σημαία\ * \Άλλο περίεργο \* Πέρυσι, αυτοί που έκαιγαν τουρκικές
σημαίες έξω από την τουρκική πρεσβεία, όχι μόνο δεν έκατσαν στο σκαμνί,
αλλά φρουρούνταν από αστυνομικούς * όπως και εκείνοι που έκαιγαν επανειλημμένα
σημαίες των ΗΠΑ * Σε αντίθεση με φοιτητές που έκατσαν στο σκαμνί επειδή
έκαψαν ελληνική σημαία * Το φθινόπωρο έκατσαν στο σκαμνί Αλβανοί που έκαψαν
ελληνική σημαία στον ποδοσφαιρικό αγώνα Ελλάδας - Αλβανίας * Οι Έλληνες
που έκαψαν αλβανική σημαία στον ίδιο αγώνα δεν μνημονεύτηκαν καν από τα
ΜΜΕ ως είδηση ** Είναι φανερό ότι ο περί αναρτήσεως και καψίματος σημαιών
νόμος χωλαίνει * Είναι απαραίτητο να εκδίδεται κάθε μέρα δελτίο επιτρεπομένων
αναρτήσεων και καψιμάτων σημαιών * Να γνωρίζουμε και να πορευόμεθα αναλόγως
* Αίφνης, αν μούρθει εμένα να κάψω αύριο μια σημαία της ΠΓΔΜ, θα καθίσω
στο σκαμνί ή όχι; * Προ ετών η απάντηση ήταν πως θα έπαιρνα βραβείο * Σήμερα
κατατρύχομαι από αμφιβολίες * \Αυτό είναι που ονομάζουμε ισονομία αλά ελληνικά
\** Όπως ας πούμε η περίπτωση του \Ομοφυλοφιλικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκης\
* Οργανώθηκε από τη Γενική Γραμματεία Νέας Γενιάς, το
Ινστιτούτο Γκαίτε και άλλους, για
προβολή ταινιών ομοφυλοφιλικού περιεχομένου * Ταινιών που έχουν παιχθεί
στο εμπόριο και μερικές έχουν βραβευθεί * Το Φεστιβάλ έγινε και πέρυσι
χωρίς πρόβλημα * Φέτος είχε την ατυχία να συμπέσει μερικώς με τη Μεγάλη
Εβδομάδα * Εξ ου και η διάρκειά του
συρρικνώθηκε, ώστε να τελειώσει
τρεις μέρες νωρίτερα * \Είναι λογικό \* Οι ομοφυλόφιλοι απαγορεύεται να
έχουν σχέση με τα άγια πάθη και την ορθοδοξία * Αν σήμερα μυριστούμε κανέναν
στον επιτάφιο, πρέπει να τον πετάξουμε έξω * Όμως, μην τολμήσει να βγάλει
από την ταυτότητά του εκείνο το "Χριστιανός Ορθόδοξος" * Μαύρο φίδι που
τον έφαγε * Αν όλοι οι ομοφυλόφιλοι/ες βγάλουν το "Χριστιανός Ορθόδοξος"
από την ταυτότητά τους, πάει, καταστρέφεται το περιβόητο 97% του λαού που
ο κ. Χριστόδουλος σεμνύνεται να χρεώνει στο ποίμνιό του * Ο πληθυσμός των
ομοφυλοφίλων υπολογίζεται στο 10~12% των πολιτών ** Επί πλέον, επεστρατεύθει
ο εισαγγελέας κατά της αφίσας του Φεστιβάλ, που είχε δύο άντρες να φιλιούνται
* \Λογικό και αυτό \* Το φιλί, όταν δεν υποτάσσεται στις παραδόσεις του
έθνους και της ορθοδοξίας, δεν είναι ένδειξη αγάπης, αλλά ποινικό αδίκημα
* Προσοχή: στις \επίσημες\ παραδόσεις * Οι πραγματικές παραδόσεις είναι
διαφορετικές ** Και τώρα η είδηση: Η
\Δαμανάκη, ο Λαφαζάνης\ και 10 βουλευτές
του ΚΚΕ (πλην της νεο-ορθόδοξης νεο-κομμουνίστριας Λιάνας) \δεν είναι βουλευτές\
* Έχουν παραβεί το Άρθρο 59 του Συντάγματος περί όρκου * Το Άρθρο προβλέπει
μόνο θρησκευτικό όρκο * Αυτοί ορκίστηκαν στη συνείδησή τους * Αυτό δεν
προβλέπεται από το Σύνταγμα * Ο Κακλαμάνης τόκανε γαργάρα * Τι κάνουν όμως
οι Λυκουρέζος, Ανδρεουλάκος, Παπαθεμελής και ο πάντα άγρυπνος διδάσκαλος
του Γένους Ζουράρις; ** \Άλλο περίεργο\ * Ο δημοσιογράφος \Γιώργος Βότσης\
μας αποκάλυψε ότι ο πρόεδρος \Νίκος Κωνσταντόπουλος\ του εκμυστηρεύτηκε
πως "ντρέπεται για την ΑΥΓΗ" * Μαρτυριάρης ή ευφάνταστος; * Ποιος πιστεύει
ότι ο πρόεδρος -θεσμικός μέτοχος της ΑΥΓΗΣ- δεν θα απευθυνόταν στα όργανα
του ΣΥΝ και της εφημερίδας * αλλά θα εκμυστηρευόταν τη... ντροπή του στον...
Βότση; * Καλή Ανάσταση. Δ. Γ. * Επικούρεια έκφραση που δηλώνει τα μη ευχάριστα
(στα αυτιά) λόγια.
Greek FM [belatedly] condemns desecration of Jewish site - 30.4.00
Greek Helsinki Monitor wrote:
Six days after the event, and only
after Greek Helsinki Monitor and Minority Rights Group-Greece, followed
by the daily Avghi, denounced the related silence, the Greek foreign ministry
[as well as the Coalition party] issued a condemnation of the neo-nazi
attacks. The preceding days, the Greek foreign ministry had on the contrary
reacted immediately after the neo-nazis burnt the Turkish flag ... and
stayed silent when communists burnt the American flag. Naturally, the continuing
silence of New Democracy, KKE and DIKKI, as well as the fact that only
Avghi of the dozens of dailies covered these protests, only confirm GHM
and MRG-G's conclusion that in Greece there is a "tolerance to intolerance"...
 Foreign ministry condemns desecration
of Jewish monument, Synagogue
Athens, 26/04/2000 (ANA)
Foreign Ministry spokesman P. Beglitis
on Tuesday condemned the acts of vandalism against the Jewish Holocaust
Monument and the Jewish Synagogue in Thessaloniki on April 20. "We condemn
in the most definite way the desecration of the monument to the victims
of the holocaust and the Holy Synagogue of Thessaloniki, apparently committed
by 'neo-Nazi' elements, on April 20, coinciding with the Jewish Passover
"This act of desecration, against
the holy sites and symbols of the Jewish community of Greece, blatantly
insults the historical memory of Thessaloniki, for the preservation of
which the Greek government, in honour to Greek Jews, victims of Nazism,
three years ago built a monument to the Holocaust. "Already, the responsible
authorities have began work to expose the culprits and for their exemplary
Response to Naomi G. & Dimitri P.: Zante cemetery in danger - 22.3.00
In Jewish Law , there are prohibitions
regarding building on top of graves on a Jewish Cemetery. If the
graves themselves are
removed (which may not be permissible
under all circumstances) then the land itself could be used for other purposes.
If you would like to know more regarding this issue, a rabbinic authority
would be the appropriate address. Speaking on the specific case, in Zakinthos
there are no more Jews. Therefore, all Jewish sites are under the auspices
and responsibility of the Central Board of Jewish Communities, which is
located in Athens. They should be among the first to be contacted in the
case described by you. If this is the case it is important that the right
measures be taken. I would appreciate it if you can contact me directly.
I would be happy to help if possible. email@example.com
T.: Archbishop Christodoulos at the Jewish Museum of Greece - 20.3.00
I am happy to inform you that today
we experienced a historic moment for the Jewish Museum of Greece. Archbishop
Christodoulos came to visit the
museum. Mr. Benrubi, Mr. Matsas, Mr. Konstandinis, Mr. Albalas and me,
were present. All
television stations were there.
Zanet did an Outstanding Job with the program and at one moment, while
looking at the historical document of Archbishop Damaskinos, which is followed
by the Holocaust Exhibit, he had a few tears come down his cheek.
At the end of the visit he noticed
the Molfetas Library and he inquired about the background. I took the lead
on that and explained the function of the American Friends and the name
of our Beloved Founder Dimitri Molfetas from Kefalonia. He was impressed
that we were so organized and he praised our efforts. When he was leaving
the museum he made an incredible set of comments. The Jewish Museum of
Greece became the focus of the entire country. All the news talked about
us and all his very moving comments about Greek Jews, our history and our
people today. I wish you were all there. We all worked hard to bring this
institution to its current state. I as the President of the American Friends,
follow on the footsteps of such great people of Leadership and all starting
from the good will and love for the Museum of our Founder Mr. Dimitris
Molfetas. We should all feel proud today. Our mission has not been fulfilled
yet, but with this type of encouragement and re-enforcement we all should
have the strength to move on. I wanted to share this significant moment
with all of you and to make you as part of this day as I
was physically there. You will read
more on a special issue of the Newsletter with many photos.
I.: Defacing of Athens Holocaust Monument - 27.2.00
AS A SURVIVOR OF THE HOLOCAUST IN
ATHENS, READING THE DEFACE
OF THE MONUMENT
AND THE PLAQUE OF ( PLATIA EVREON
MARTYRON) BECAME VERY UPSET AND FRUSTRATED. I THINK ALL OF US RESIDING
IN USA TO COPY YOUR ARTICLE AND TO MAIL IT TO THEIR REPRESENTATIVES AND
SENATORS IN WASHINGTON, ASKING THEM TO RELATE TO THE GOVERNMENT TO FIND
THE PERPETRATORS AND PUNISH THEM SEVERELY, AS AN EXAMPLE. YOUR COMMENTS
TO THE ABOVE WILL BE APPRECIATED.
G. & Dimitri P.: Zante cemetery in danger - 9.2.00
We have a house on the island of
Zakinthos, Greece, and go there every year. Last year we were told by the
caretaker of the Jewish cemetery, dated 1218, that plans were afoot
to build a hotel on this ancient sight. He begged us to try to get
help to protect it. The graves are old, with Venetian crests on the stones,
as Jewish Venetian merchants are also buried there. Jews who died in the
1953 earthquake are also buried there. It appears that no Jews have been
buried since and no Jews remain on the island or visit the graves. We are
going to Venice on 21st February and wonder who would be the best person
there to contact, Would you have any ideas about how we can gather interest
in saving this cemetery?
F.: Athens Jewish Holocaust Square defaced - 15.11.99
I am greatly saddened and angered
to hear of this tragic state of affairs. We have had similar defacement
of synagogues in the Chicago suburbs. I did not realize that it was
a problem in Greece, as I thought that the long association between Greeks
Jews would have resulted in much
more acceptance and a lot less antisemitic activity. I hope this
was only an isolated incident and that the perpetrators will be caught
and punished. If there is a fund to help restore the plaque, I would
like to make a donation
when I am in Athens next month.
Is there someone whom I could contact?
G.: Restored synagogue in Crete a tribute to centuries-long Jewish presence
MORE than half a century after the
entire Jewish population of Crete perished during World War , the historic
Etz Hayyim synagogue of Hania - after undergoing painstaking renovation
and repair to damage wrought by wartime Luftwaffe bombardment - reopened
its gates on Sunday at a ceremony addressed by the honorary chairman of
the New Democracy party, Constantine Mitsotakis. Also present at the proceedings
were Hania Mayor George Tzanakakis, German Ambassador to Athens Karl-Heinz
Albert Kuhna and delegations from Israel, the United States and Europe.
"I wish to express my pleasure at the restoration of the ancient Jewish
synagogue of Hania," Mitsotakis told the assembled gathering, "and I wish
to congratulate and thank all who contributed to this project." Tradition
holds that the synagogue building, apparently a 14th-century Venetian church
in its original form, was ceded to Hania's Jewish community by Crete's
Ottoman rulers and consecrated for use as a Jewish house of worship some
300 years later. But by 1996, when the Etz Hayyim, or "Tree of Life", synagogue
was collapsing with the passage of time and in which Jewish worship had
long since ceased, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece launched
a campaign for the mediaeval building's restoration. The Cretan Jewish
historian Nikos Stavroulakis - former director of the Jewish Museum of
Greece - threw the weight of his personal energies into the endeavour,
which resulted in an encouraging and invaluable response to the appeal
by the World Monuments Fund. Sunday's inauguration ceremony was more than
the triumph of an endeavour to re-establish the ancient site of Jewish
worship on the island in some semblance of its pristine dignity, following
decades of neglect. It was a move to reassert the continuum of a Jewish
presence already spanning 2,300 years of the island's history and going
back to the conquests of Alexander the Great. This coincided with the establishment
of Alexandria as a centre of Greek culture in a cosmopolitan context inevitably
including Jews, whose proclivity for travel, trade and scholarly pursuits
has been attested to by historians, not least of whom were the renowned
Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. It was also in Alexandria that the translators
of the Hebrew Bible into Greek made history - a translation which posterity
came to know as the Septuagint. Among early Jewish migrants to Crete are
said to have been sailors and merchants, while the New Testamant records
the presence of visiting Cretan Jews in Jerusalem at Pentecost, in AD 33,
and the Apostle Paul, in one of his epistles, quotes from the Cretan poet
Epimenides - who wrote in the sixth pre-Christian century - testifying
to Jewish awareness of Cretan culture 2,000 years ago. In a reference to
Crete's Jewish community of pre-war times, Mitsotakis - himself a son of
the island - referred to "those of an older generation like myself who
remember with emotion and love Hania's Jewish community, a victim of the
Holocaust and the Nazi insanity of the second world war".
Jewish leader complains about letter opposing synagogue reopening
by Lisa Orkin Associated Press Writer
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ The leader
of Greece's small Jewish community complained bitterly Thursday about a
politician's letter questioning why a restored 400-year-old synagogue
was being reopened on the island of Crete even though there is only one
Jewish resident in the town.
"We have the
freedom to settle wherever we want and to worship the religion that we
want. I do not understand why this is the reaction of the prefect," said
Moses Constantini, president of the Central Board of the
Jewish Community, representing
the country's 5,000 remaining Jews.
have restored the Etz Hayyim, or Tree of Life, synagogue in Chania and
planned services for Friday and Saturday as part of the official reopening.
A memorial service also planned for Sunday for the 269
Jews of Chania who died in
1944 when British torpedoes sank a vessel taking them on the first leg
of a journey to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
the prefect of Chania, issued a letter saying he understood the reason
for restoring the synagogue and expressed sympathy for the Jews killed
in the ship sinking. But he questioned why the synagogue
should be used for religious
promote even more the monument and its historical values and remove the
religious services ... when there is not an adequate number of faithful
for their participation and admission," he wrote.
and ceremonies of the synagogue are directed at whom?"
the letter continued. "An empty
monument, idle tourists or those transported from another congregation?"
did not return phone calls from The Associated Press.
The sole Greek
Jewish resident in Chania, Nicholas Stavroulakis, led the estimated dlrs
500,000 restoration effort for the synagogue. There are also a few Israeli
immigrants on Crete.
More than 90
percent of Greece's 80,000 Jews perished in Nazi death camps or during
the German occupation of Greece. An early 19th century census listed more
than 1,000 Jews on Crete.
it "an inexcusable letter, without reason or cause." Constantini said he
hoped the synagogue would also function as "a spiritual and cultural center"
for all religions.
often open sharp debates in Greece, where Orthodox Christianity figures
prominently in the national and cultural identity and Orthodox clerics
wield far-ranging influence.
The Greek Orthodox
Church is struggling with a request to open a mosque in Athens, one of
the few large European cities without a central place of worship for Muslims.
Last month, a
U.S. State Department report on Greece said non-Orthodox religious groups,
such as Muslims and Jehovah's Witness, "sometimes face administrative obstacles
or encounter legal restrictions on religious
The leaders of
Greece's Orthodox Church denounced the report as a "biased" and "criminal"
attack against the country.
On Sept. 6, the
same clerics issued a statement saying that Pope John Paul II must apologize
for centuries of perceived Roman Catholic misdeeds against Christian Orthodox
if he wanted to receive a religious welcome in
Greece as part of a proposed
pilgrimage to biblical sites.
FROM INTERNATIONAL SURVEY OF JEWISH MONUMENTS
Weeks of August 26 - September 6
1. Jewish Sites Appear Undamaged
in Turkish & Greek Earthquake
Despite the widespread loss of life
and damage to buildings throughout much of northeast Turkey during the
earthquake that shook the region in August, there appears to have been
little or no damage to synagogues and other Jewish sites in the area, according
early reports published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The Jewish
Community of Turkey is actively participating in ongoing relief efforts
in the country. It also appears that no Jewish sites have suffered in any
substantial way from the recent earthquake that hit Athens, Greece, last
week. According to Moses Constantini, the head of the Central Board
of Jewish Communities, both synagogues will be open this weekend for Rosh
Hashana, the beginning of the Jewish New Year. In addition, the Jewish
community of Athens reports that it has plans to restore the Ianniotiki
synagogue, built in 1905. It is an historic building listed by the
Greek Ministry of Culture.
H.: Letter to the Jerusalem Post on Hania synagogue - 14.10.99
To: Jerusalem_Post <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Concerning your article of Friday,
October 18th, on the Hania Synagogue inauguration, by Arieh O'Sullivan,
I would like to make a correction: the mayor of Hania Mr. Tzanakakis has
very much supported the work of the restoration of the synagogue and was
present in its rededication. Mr. Katsanevakis, the author of the letter,
is the prefect of Hania district. In addition to this minor
issue, I think that it is rather disppointing that you have chosen to emphasize
the negative content of an inconsequential letter by an official, rather
than the positive three year restoration work of Dr. Stavroulakis. Is this
perhaps not another example of the same kind of negative journalism that
our country - and your newspaper in particular - protest when it is aimed
against us ?
Yours sincerely, S. Hassid
Associate Professor, Environmental
& Water Resources Eng., Technion - Haifa
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