The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) held a very special virtual event, on January 25th, in view of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2022. Under the title “There is Neither Greek Nor Jew”, CAM, along with B’nai B’rith International, the National Hellenic Society (NHS), the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), and the European March of the Living (EMOTL), co-hosted a digital live reception to honour the late Greek heroes Loukas Karrer and Dimitrios Chrysostomos ahead of the 44th anniversary of their “Righteous Among the Nations” designation by Yad Vashem.
The commemorative event told the story of the courageous efforts of Karrer and Chrysostomos to save the Jews of the Greek island of Zakynthos from the Nazis during WWII, and highlighted its relevance to the contemporary fight against antisemitism.
As the organizers underlined, “recognizing past figures who confronted antisemitism in its most extreme form is meant to inspire a new generation of civic and religious leaders to similarly stand up to antisemitism and other forms of hate.”
Hosting distinguished speakers who shared their deep knowledge of their value and dynamics, the event also focused on the history of Hellenic-Jewish relations.
In his keynote statement Ambassador Chris J. Lazaris underlined that “together with the great upgrade of the bilateral relations between Greece and Israel, the Greek governments across the political spectrum have adopted a clear stance against Antisemitism”, making a special reference to the recent conviction of the neo-Nazi leaders of Golden Dawn, a landmark verdict which met with jubilation internationally, as indicative of Greece’s determination to defeat the politics of hate. Ambassador Lazaris further underlined that the Greek Presidency of the IHRA has been “an excellent moment to vitalize the domestic debate about issues like how our own society perceives Antisemitism, the history of the Holocaust, how the presence of Jews would have enriched each community and our country as a whole”. Referring to the Greek Presidency of the IHRA which under his chairmanship defined its priorities, highlighting the value of education, Ambassador Lazaris pinpointed that “education about the Holocaust is not only a moral duty towards victims and survivors but also a sound path to solidify critical thinking, to forge responsible political attitudes and protect human rights and democracy in each and every country.”
In a surprise intervention, Mr. Robert Singer, Chairman of Center for Jewish Impact, presented Ambassador Lazaris with the special award of Combat Antisemitism Movement, thanking him on behalf of the more than 430 partner organizations that make up the Combat Antisemitism Movement while noting that “the Presidency of Greece for the IHRA during the last year was outstanding”.