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Holocaust Afflicted Greek Jews

The tragedy that befell Jews living in Greece during World War II was poignantly told to about 600 people gathered at the Nassau County Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center in Glen Cove on April 7, Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, museum director of Kehila Kedosha Janina in New York City, who gave an historical overview of the  story that has not been widely told, said that although the Jews of Greece have the distinction of being the longest Jewish presence in the European Diaspora, going back 2,300 years, they also have the unfortunate distinction of having the greatest percentage of Jews lost in any officially occupied country during WWII. 

 

Greek Jews had had a good life.  They were prosperous, well-educated, integrated members of Greek society.  During the occupation that began in April 1941 there was an “illusion of safety,” said Ikonomopoulos. ”Families were close and wanted to stay together, opportunities to escape were not taken.”  It was not until late in the war, March of 1943, that the deportations began. In a short period of time, eighty-seven percent of all Greek Jews had perished, primarily at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  From Thrace, in the Bulgarian Occupation Zone, the number was over 98 percent.  

 

“Today, there are about 5,000 Jews living in Greece, primarily in Athens or Salonica,” noted the Arye Mekel, Israeli ambassador to Greece, who flew in from Greece to mark the occasion. In his keynote speech, Mekel cautioned that in times of severe economic crisis, such as the case currently in Greece, there is a tendency for politics to lean radically to the left or right.  During the past elections, 18 members of the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn, a party with neo-Nazi roots, were elected to the Greek Parliament.  Despite this, Greek-Israeli relations continue to improve as the two countries are partnering together in such areas as defense and tourism.  

 

In his welcoming remarks, Steven Markowitz, Chairman of the Board, described one of the missions of the center.  “Our job is to honor the victims, honor the survivors, honor the rescuers and honor the stories,” he said, “and to tell the stories that haven’t been widely told.”  State Assemblyman Charles Lavine remarked, “We solemnly gather today in strength to speak for those who cannot speak anymore.  Our voices are their voices.”  

 

The Holocaust Center is currently running a special exhibit, Portraits of Our Past: Greek Jews and the Holocaust. The exhibit of photography and artifacts documenting Jewish life in Greece before, during and after the Holocaust is provided by the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture and the Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum. The exhibit will be on display at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, through August 15 and will challenge those who view it to never forget that which they might never have known.  For further information, visit:  www.holocaust-nassau.org.


News

It was special night on Tuesday, July 15 at Glen Cove City Hall, as former Councilman Anthony Jimenez was voted in by a count of 7-0 to replace late Councilman Nick DiLeo on the City Council. He will take the seat of DiLeo, who passed away in April, until the election date on Nov. 4.

 

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to replace my good friend, Nick DiLeo, on the City Council,” said Jimenez. “I will do my job to the best of my ability during my time with council.”

 

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello said he was honored to have Jimenez fill the position until the general election, which will take place in early November.

The Village of Sea Cliff took the time to show area residents that July 4 is not just about BBQs and fireworks, but about patriotism and freedom.  On the morning of July 4, under overcast skies, 300 or so people gathered in Sea Cliff to celebrate Independence Day. 

 

The festivities started with Mayor Bruce Kennedy ringing the Liberty Bell on the green in front of the library. This was followed by Sara Garry and Ruben Shonik playing “Yankee Doodle” on the flute and drum with, Boy Scout Troop 43 marching behind them to  present the colors and lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Lesley Pryde Haley sang “The Star Spangled Banner” next. 


Sports

Three members of the Glen Cove Big Red Boys Lacrosse Team were honored at the Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches Association Dinner on June 11.

Pictured are Ryan Perkins, Sean Peet and  Phil Grella, who were awarded for both their play on the field and their work in the classroom. Ryan was named to the All-County Honorable Mention Team, Sean and Phil were named to the All-Conference Team. All three also received Academic All-Conference standing for their work in the classroom.


Glen Cove High School recently held its first-ever Athletics Wall of Fame Induction ceremony in the school’s athletic wing. 

 

Wall of Fame inductees are varsity players who have been selected as All-County in their respective sport. This year, 12 Glen Cove students were named All-County, earning themselves an eight-by-ten photograph mounted and framed on the storied wall near the gymnasium. The Wall of Fame dates back to its first inductee in 1974.


Calendar

Wine Tasting - July 18

Morgan Park Summer Music - July 19

Blood Drive - July 22


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com