Greece commemorates the 80th anniversary of the first deportations of Greek Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Thessaloniki, the northern metropolis that lost almost its entire flourishing Jewish community.
Holding white balloons reading “Never Again,” around a thousand people of all ages march to the old railway station of Thessaloniki, where the deportations began on March 15, 1943. Many people leave flowers on the train tracks.
The deportations were carried out in cattle wagons, each holding around 80 people forcefully crammed in, ceremony officials told AFP.
Some 46,000 Thessaloniki Jews were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau between March and August 1943, said the president of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, David Saltiel — and just 1,950 returned.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, Thessaloniki Mayor Konstantinos Zervas and Israeli Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis were among the officials at the ceremony.