At the unveiling, the Netanyahus were accompanied by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.
— Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) June 15, 2017
Tsipras noted the shared history of Greece and Israel and how the museum would safeguard the memory of the Holocaust as well as one of the most dramatic eras in the history of Thessaloniki.
In his remarks, Netanyahu shared that the father of his wife, Sara, “is the only one of a family of almost 100 people who survived and therefore, this visit here is particularly moving for us because Thessaloniki is a famous city in Jewish history and in Greek history.”
Netanyahu also touched on Thessaloniki’s recent history in which the Nazi’s “destroyed about 95 percent of this extraordinary and proud Jewish Community.”
He shared a little-known story about the “heroism of the Greeks,” in “the case of the Island of Zakynthos, where the German commander said, ‘Give me a list of the Jews’ and the bishop and the mayor brought a list of the Jews, two names. They said, ‘This is our Jews. Take us.’ We honor these two great heroes among the righteous among the nations in [Israel’s] Yad Vashem.”
Netanyahu’s visit to the future museum site came as part of a trip to Greece to attend a third trilateral summit between Israeli, Greek and Cypriot leaders.
Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife, Sarah, also spoke at a synagogue in Thessaloniki, telling Jewish community members, including the Rabbi of Thessaloniki Israel Aharon, the president of the local Jewish community David Shaltiel, and the mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, that the Jewish people “rose from the ashes [of the Holocaust] and built a modern country; we returned to the land of our ancestors, built a country, established an army — a good one, built an economy — a very good one, and took our place among the nations.”