Greece honors former Jewish parliamentarians


ATHENS — Greek Jewish parliamentarians from 1915 to 1936 were honored in a ceremony at the old Parliament building in Athens.

The Greek parliament commissioned Greek Jewish writer Leon Naar to write a book about the 32 Greek Jews elected to parliament in 13 elections over that period.

Tuesday’s ceremony was organized by the Central Board of Greek Jews, an umbrella organization, and the Greek parliament. Parliament Speaker Phillip Petsalnikos was joined at the ceremony by former speakers Ann Psarouda Benaki and Dimitri Sioufas.

In his remarks, Petsalnikos said that “this honorary publication was a necessity in order to honor and keep the memory of the Greek Jewish parliamentarians who in the past offered their services to the ultimate democratic institution of the country.

From 1915 to 1936, 58 Jews ran for parliament and 32 were elected.

Petsalnikos also spoke of the tragic results of the German occupation of Greece on the Jewish community, saying that “the experiences of the past, the wars, the unspeakable crimes and the genocides of the 20th century showed in the most tragic way that religious fanaticism and nationalism can lead to disastrous consequences.”