Mayor Yiannis Boutaris of Thessaloniki is to pay tribute to the Greek Jews deported by the Nazis in World War II.

BY BEN BRESKY
Members of a pioneer youth movement, shown in a Ghetto Fighter's House Musem exhibition.

Members of a pioneer youth movement, shown in a Ghetto Fighter’s House Musem exhibition.. (photo credit: COURTESY GHETTO FIGHTERS’ HOUSE MUSEUM ARCHIVES)

Yiannis Boutaris, mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece is scheduled to visit the Ghetto Fighters’ House museum in kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot for Yom HaShoah.

Greek Jews who lived in Thessaloniki were deported to death camps when the Nazis invaded. Boutaris is seeking to strengthen ties with Israel and the Jewish world, and the city is in the process of building a Holocaust museum.
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The museum is to be built near the old railway station from which the Jews were deported to camps in Auschwitz and other places. Histrionically, Thessaloniki prided itself on its multiculturalism, being home to Jews, Christians and Muslims for generations. Only about 4% of the city’s Jewish community, mostly of Sephardic origin, survived World War II.
The Ghetto Fighters’ House will host closing ceremonies for the Yom HaShoah – Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day on Thursday. Both the museum and kibbutz, located in northern Israel, were founded in 1949 by Holocaust survivors, particularly those that fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Yom HaShoah’s date was chosen to commemorate the dramatic resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazi regime.

The museum, along with the Chamber of the Holocaust on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion were founded about a year after Israel became independent from the British and pre-date the Yad Vashem national Holocaust center.

Those who will be honored with lighting the six memorial torches will be Tunisian-born Shlomo Richard Almog who survived a forced labor camp when the Nazis invaded North Africa, Slovenian-born Avery Fisher and Shimon Almog Huter both of whom lived with Catholic families under assumed identities, Wolf & Shlomo Galperin, leaders of the “131 Kovno Children” group, Hungarian-born Esther Cohen who survived the Mauthausen death camp, and Prof. Yoram Harpaz, the son of Holocaust survivors and author of a book about “second generation” children.

Israeli singer Nathan Goshen will perform at the ceremony in the presence of IDF Commander of the Northern Command, Major General Amir Baram and others.

The museum will be free and open to the public throughout the day.