Obj. ID: 47057
Modern Jewish Art Holocaust Memorial in Alexandroupoli, Greece, 2019
Who is Commemorated?
The approximately 150 members of the Jewish community of Alexandroupolis who were deported and murdered in the Holocaust.
The memorial is built facing a fenced and gated courtyard that is part of the property of the Metropolitan Church of St. Nicholas. This is an unusual monument since it is placed on the church property, in an area next to the Leontarideios School which houses the Alexandroupolis Ecclesiastical Museum. The fenced enclosure is locked, but one can get permission to enter from the museum located next door.
The paved courtyard is surrounded by several monuments of a religious (specifically Greek Orthodox) nature. The Holocaust monument is large and prominently sits at the far edge of the courtyard, opposite the entrance gate, and it is fully visible from the entrance. The rear of the monument can also be seen through the iron fence from the adjacent street.
The monument consists of a large rectangular rough stone base on which is set a menorah made of cut and polished rectangular marble blocks: A horizontal slab serves as the menorah base, and a smaller vertical block forms the trunk. Another horizontal slab resting on the trunk carries seven vertical blocks as menorah branches, atop each of which is a cut red stone emulating a lit flame.
Two lines of commemorative text in Greek are on the sides of the horizontal slabs facing the courtyard. The date of the arrests and deportations of the local Jewish Community are on the menorah trunk.
ΕΙΣ ΑΝΑΜΝΗΣΙΝ ΤΟΥ ΟΛΟΚΑΥΤΩΜΑΤΟΣ
ΤΩΝ ΕΒΡΑΙΩΝ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ
Translation: In memory of the Holocaust of the Jews of Alexandroupoli, March 4, 1943.
| Metropolitan Church of St. Nicholas, Alexandroupoli 681 32, Greece
Approximately 150 members of the Jewish community of Alexandroupolis were arrested and deported to their deaths by the Bulgarian army and police forces on March 4, 1943.
Seventy-six years later on March 3, 2019, a memorial was dedicated in the courtyard of the Metropolitan church of Saint Nicholas in a ceremony attended by local authorities, members of the Jewish Communities of Greece, members of the Greek parliament, then-Israeli Ambassador to Greece, Irit Ben-Aba, Secretary General of the Central Israeli Council of Greece Victor Eliezer, five descendants of one of Alexandroupoli’s Holocaust survivors, and others.
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt visited the monument on September 13, 2019, when he met with Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Anthimos. In an interview, he stated:
“I was especially glad to be able to visit with him at the new Holocaust Memorial in Alexandroupolis. One of the sad realities of Greece and especially Northern Greece is that it had a terrible experience during the war. A terrible experience with the Holocaust that almost eliminated completely what was at one time a really thriving Jewish community which in cities like Thessaloniki was a key part of the culture, of the fabric and what makes that city so unique. So I have a lot of respect for the efforts that Metropolitan Anthimos has made to help educate future generations about that experience, but also to send a very strong message of religious tolerance and understanding. These are values we hold in common and they’re ones where Thrace I think in particular sets an example because of its unique mix of religion and cultures.”
"Ambassador Pyatt’s Interview to Thraki Net" U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Greece, https://gr.usembassy.gov/ambassador-pyatts-interview-to-thraki-net/ (accessed January 23, 2023)
Pappas, Gregory. “On This Day March 4, 1943: Remembering the Lost Jews of Alexandroupoli,” Pappas Post, March 4, 2020., https://pappaspost.com/march-4-1943-alexandroupoli-jews/ (accessed January 23, 2023)
“The Holocaust Memorial unveiled in Alexandroupolis, Greece,” European Jewish Parliament , https://ejp.eu/the-holocaust-memorial-unveiled-in-alexandroupolis-greece/ (accessed January 23, 2023)