Obj. ID: 44486
Modern Jewish Art Holocaust Memorial "Menora in Flames 2" in Thessaloniki, Greece, 1997, 2007
Who is Commemorated?
50,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki killed in the Holocaust
The sculptural monument is set on a low wide base made of rectangular blocks of grey marble with white veins. From a distance, the sculpture seems entirely abstract, but closer observation shows the form of a menorah built of human bodies and flame. The bronze sculpture rises as a roughly square plan vertical “trunk” that then extends much wider in seven branches, as in a menorah, but these branches are sculpted as wavering pointed flames reaching to the sky. In an intermediate area above the “trunk and entwined in the growing flames are the abstracted forms of at least six human figures, their bodies distorted and stretched, and their thin limbs entangled and caught in the flames.
Two plaques affixed to the base of the monument refer to the original installation and its removal and new dedication. The first, written in Greek and English, solely remembers the victims. The second, in Greek, Hebrew, and English, commemorates a moment in contemporary (2006) Greek and Israeli politics.
On the first plaque in Greek:
ΤΟ ΜΝΗΜΕΙΟ ΑΥΤΟ ΑΦΙΕΡΩΝΕΤΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΛΑΟ
ΣΤΗΝ ΙΕΡΗ ΜΝΗΜΗ ΤΩΝ 50,000 ΕΒΡΑΙΩΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΤΗΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ
ΠΟΥ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΟΙΞΗ ΤΟΥ 1943 ΞΕΡΙΖΩΘΗΚΑΝ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΠΟΛΗ ΤΟΥΣ
ΚΑΙ ΕΞΟΝΤΩΘΗΚΑΝ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΥΣ ΝΑΖΙ ΚΑΤΑΚΤΗΤΕΣ
ΣΤΟΥΣ ΘΑΛΑΜΟΥΣ ΑΕΡΙΩΝ
ΤΩΝ ΣΤΡΑΤΟΠΕΔΩΝ ΘΑΝΑΤΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΑUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU
Translation: This monument is dedicated by the Greek people in sacred memory of the 50,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki who in the spring of 1943 were deported from their city and were exterminated by the Nazi conquerors in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps. November 1997
On the first plaque in English:
DEDICATED BY THE GREEK PEOPLE TO THE MEMORY OF
THE 50,000 JEWISH GREEKS OF THESSALONIKI,
DEPORTED FROM THEIR MOTHER CITY
BY THE NAZI OCCUPATION FORCES
IN THE SPRING OF 1943, AND
EXTERMINATED IN THE GAS CHAMBERS OF
THE AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU DEATH CAMPS
On the second plaque the identical inscriptions in Greek, Hebrew and English.
ΕΙΣ ΜΝΗΜΗΝ ΤΩΝ ΕΒΡΑΙΩΝ ΤΗΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ, ΘΥΜΑΤΩΝ ΤΟΥ ΟΛΟΚΑΥΤΩΜΑΤΟΣ
ΚΑΡΟΛΟΣ ΠΑΠΟΥΛΙΑΣ, ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑΣ
MOSHE KATSAV, ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΚΡΑΤΟΥΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΣΡΑΗΛ
ΜΕ ΤΗΝ ΕΥΚΑΙΡΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΠΡΟΤΗΣ ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΗΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΚΡΑΤΟΥΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΣΡΑΗΛ
16 ΦΕΒΡΟΥΑΡΙΟΥ 2006
לזכרם של 50.000 יהודי שאלוניקי קורבנות השואה.
קארולוס פפוליאס, נשיא הריפובליקה ההלנית
משה קצב, נשיא מדינת ישראל.
לרגל הביקור הממלכתי הראשון של נשיא מדינת ישראל ביוון.
י''ח שבט תשס''ו - 16 פברואר 2006
IN MEMORY OF THE 50,000 JEWS FROM THESSALONIKI, VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST
KAROLOS PAPOULIAS, PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC
MOSHE KATSAV, PRESIDENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FIRST STATE VISIT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
TO THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC
16th FEBRUARY 2006
18 SHVAT 5766
Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece (KIS)
Municipality of Thessaloniki
On the base - GN 1997
Menorah in Flame 2, sculpted by the Serbian Jewish sculptor Nandor Glid was installed in Thessaloniki in 1997 and then moved to its present location in 2007. It is a variant of his Holocaust memorial Menorah in Flame unveiled in Belgrade in 1990.
Glid is perhaps best known for his sculpture at the Mauthausen (1957) and Dachau (1965-68) concentration camps. Subsequently, he made several other Holocaust memorials, which embrace a more symbolic language. The one in Thessaloniki was his last. He died in 1997 before it was cast in bronze, and his sons Gabriel and Daniel completed the project.
The monument was originally installed in a public square named in 1996 as the “Square of the Jewish Martyrs of the Holocaust” at the intersection of Alex. Papanastasíou and New Egnatía Streets, a location that was formerly a corner of the Jewish 151st quarter behind the former Hirsch Hospital (now Hippokráteio Hospital). This was done in anticipation of Thessaloniki holding the title of European Cultural Capital in 1997. The city was essentially shamed into remembering its Jewish past and the fate of its thousands of Jewish inhabitants. The project was organized by the Central Board of Jewish communities in Greece (KIS) and on November 23, 1997, Kostís Stefanópoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic, dedicated Glid’s sculpture in the square as the first public recognition of the deportation and murder of more than 50,000 Jews – a large segment of the city’s population.
Unfortunately, the monument was often vandalized so in 2005 it was moved to its present and more visible location on Plateia Eleftherias (Freedom Square), facing the waterfront. The new setting has some significance to the suffering of the city’s Jews. On July 11, 1942, the German occupiers of the city held 9,000 Jewish men here and subjected them to a degrading registration process in the blazing heat. Today, most of the large square is a parking lot, but the monument is screened off from cars.
Elfrink, Renna Melina. Breaking the Silence: Memorialization of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki, MA Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam, July 2021., https://www.academia.edu/59899587/Breaking_the_silence_Memorialization_of_the_Holocaust_in_Thessaloniki (accessed January 29, 2023)
Gruber, Samuel D., “Menorah in Flames: Nandor Glid's Holocaust Memorial in Thessaloniki,” Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments, July 6, 2022., https://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.com/2022/07/menorah-in-flames-nandor-glids.html (accessed August 26, 2022)
Molho, Rena and Hastaoglou-Martinidis, Vilma, Jüdische Orte in Thessaloniki – Ein historischer Rundgang (Berlin: Romiosini, 2016)., https://bibliothek.edition-romiosini.de/catalog/view/14/23/209-1#page/1/mode/2up (accessed January 29, 2023)
Subotić, Irina, Nandor Glid (Belgrade: Fondacija Vujičić koleccija, 2012).