Rhodes remembers its Greek Jewish community in Holocaust service

Rhodes remembers its Greek Jewish community in Holocaust service 1

Rhodes remembers its Greek Jewish community in Holocaust service 2

The island of Rhodes on Tuesday commemorated the memory of all its Jewish citizens that perished in the Holocaust, during a special ceremony and march.

The commemoration event was attended by descendants of the Greek Jews of Rhodes from across the world who later held  a commemorative march from the Holocaust Memorial located in the Medieval Town of Rhodes to the island’s port, where their ancestors were taken 75 years ago before they were transported, initially by ship and then by train, to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The memorial ceremony was held in the presence of the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, David Saltiel, representatives of the Jewish Community of Rhodes, and Sam Montiano, one of the few survivors of Auschwitz.

Descendants of Jews who arrived in Rhodes from America, Africa and Europe paid tribute during a memorial ceremony that took place in the harbour area, then they all went to the Jewish cemetery of Rhodes.

In his statements, Sam Montiano stressed: “I believe we have survived because God has perhaps chosen us as witnesses, for the rest of the world to know what happened, and so humanity will not know such horrors again.”

On July 18, 1944, Nazi Germany issued an order and demanded that all male Jews on Rhodes aged 16 and above should present themselves at the Aviation building (today’s Rhodes School of Tourism) the next day.

A total of 1,600 Jews from Rhodes were taken to the island’s harbour, where they boarded three cargo ships to the neighbouring island of Kos, where another 50 Jews boarded the ship.

After arriving at the port of Piraeus, the Jews were taken to a detention camp in Haidari, Athens.

On August 3, 1944, the 1,650 Jews of Rhodes and Kos are transported to the Athens train station, where their journey to Auschwitz began.