As part of last month’s Holocaust Memorial in Veria, Central Macedonia, an estimated 2000 people attended The Thread of Memory, in memory of the 460 members of Veria’s Jewish Community who perished in the Nazi Death Camps. The Thread of Memory was a three-day program of events culminated with an installation and concert, curated and performed by renowned Veria born soprano, Sonia Theodoridou and including other artists.
The program also featured a march that included the unfurling of a three-kilometre red thread by students and participants.
“The red thread traverses in the footprints of all the people that have been deported from their homes. It lays out the path of blood,” Sonia Theodoridou said.
The artwork “binds us” by a grid that begins in front of the Synagogue in the old Jewish neighbourhood of Barbouta.
Local students with the names of the Jewish-Greeks that perished in the Holocaust followed the famous soprano with the memorial thread. The three-kilometer course began at the Synagogue and ended at the railway station from where Jews were deported to Auschwitz – Birkenau in WWII.
Rabbi Aaron Israel of Thessaloniki prayed at the commemoration ceremony, and Mayor of Veria, Konstantinos Voryiazidis, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, David Saltiel and Sonia Theodoridou addressed the audience. Ms Theodoridou said it was a “thread of memory and responsibility”.
The thread passed from the uphill alleys to the central avenues of Veria.
At the entrance of the railway station Luxembourg cellist and composer Andre Morgenthaller met the marchers. Soprano Sonia Theodoridou then placed the red thread in front of the stage, and began with the hymn Eli – Eli.
There was also an unveiling of the Holocaust Monument at the old Jewish cemetery, Promitheas. The monument includes a Menorah placed in front of a small house built where the Jewish cemetery stood before it was was ceded to the Municipality to house a sports centre.
The Holocaust Monument, designed by David Frances, and looms over the surrounding elevated area, over which some still remaining tombstones are laying. These gave the place-name “Jewish tombs” to the area. Three marble plaques engraved in Greek, English and Hebrew with “460 Jews of Veria were deported from their birthplace on 1st May 1943 and exterminated by the Nazis in the Death Camps of Birkenau and Auschwitz. The City of Veria remembers the Holocaust of the 6,000,000 Jews and dedicates this monument to the holy memory of the victims.”
During his speech, at the unveiling ceremony, the Mayor of Veria Konstantinos Voryiazidis said it was an “historic day” adding that the conservation of Memory is a “moral duty”. He said that if the local Jewish Community hadn’t perished, “Veria would be a culturally richer city today.”
“It is important to remember and to learn this chapter of history on Jewish life here,” added the Israeli Ambassador to Greece, Yossi Amrani.
“The Memorial consists an homage and an expectation for the future”, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities Greece, David Saltiel, said after he unveiled, the Monument, mentioning the necessity that the monument is a “living interaction with history”.