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Thessaloniki Jews Remembered at Victorian Parliament

Thessaloniki Jews Remembered at Victorian Parliament

17 September 2014

The Thessaloniki Association and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) came together on Tuesday night in the Victorian Parliament, to remember the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki who were deported by the Nazis to death camps destined to never return.  Fewer than 2000 Jews survived.

Nearly 100 people from the Thessaloniki and Jewish communities attended the reception in Queens Hall which was the start of building strong ties between the two communities.

As part of the relationship, connections have been made for information and resource sharing between the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Elsternwick and the new Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki.

The long history of the Jews in Thessaloniki was celebrated through music and poetry, as well as keynote addresses by Dr Helen Light, Executive Member of the JCCV and Eyvah Dafaranos, poet and wife of the Greek Ambassador, HE Haralambos Dafaranos.

There was strong bipartisan political support from politicians with many members of parliament attending with speeches supporting multiculturalism and attacking racism from Matthew Guy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Jenny Mikakos MP, Shadow Minister for Seniors and Ageing.

Paul Mavroudis, President of the Thessaloniki Association and Nina Bassat AM, President of the JCCV both spoke on behalf of their communities and stressed the importance of good relationships between the communities.

Mr Mavrouidis highlighted that the evening was the first event in the celebration of the 30 year sister city relationship between Melbourne and Thessaloniki.

Both Presidents thanked the Victorian Multicultural Commission for its support of the event and the building harmonious relationships between communities in general.

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