As Greece prepares to mark the 76th Anniversary of its entry in World War II, after Mussolini’s invasion on October 28th, the country’s representatives in New York City, in close cooperation with AFJMG, launched a renewed exhibit of “Synagonistis”, at the Consulate General’s premises. It was a festive event, which started at 6:30 pm, on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016.
The Consulate General’s premises were soon full to capacity by the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece and the diplomatic corps attending this event that has already made its tour in Washington, DC, Tampa, FL and Atlanta, GA. Synagonistis is the story of hundreds of Greek Jews who took part in the Greek underground resistance on the mountains of Greece.
A little after 6.30 pm, Dr. Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Greece in New York, greeted the many visitors and, in his words of welcome, highlighted the significance of the event. In particular, he stressed the importance of remembering the sacrifice of people, forgotten for too long. They were both Jews and Christians, brothers -in-arms who, early in the occupation, joined
The fight against Fascism and the savage occupation it had imposed on Greece; against an ideology of racism and anti-Semitism that it sought to impose on Europe.
Dr. Koutras was followed by Rabbi Martin A. Cohen, Spiritual Leader of AFJMG. In a brief but powerful message, enriched with facts and figures, as well names of Jews who fought in the resistance, Rabbi Cohen underscored the scale and the diversity of Jewish participation in the resistance movements and the war effort in general; a signal contribution that was totally out of proportion to the size of Jewish communities in pre-war Greece.
After a musical interlude, which featured the renowned Ballad of Mauthausen, of Mikis Theodorakis, interpreted by Mr. P. Kordis and Mr. N. Antoniou, it was Mr. Solomon Asser’s turn to speak to the occasion. After thanking our Greek hosts, the President of AFJMG analyzed the salient traits of the Jewish contribution to the country’s massive effort during WWII. He added a personal note remembering the names of several family members, who joined in the resistance and fought either as doctors or as combatant. Furthermore, the president praised the Jewish Museum of Greece for its notable initiative in mounting this exhibit. One of the many facets of its output and outreach; which brings to light the history, traditions arts and culture, but also contribution of the Greek Jewish communities, certainly the oldest in the entire European Union.