Metropolite Anthimos and his «irrefutable archives»
Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 29/06/2008
Metropolite of Thessaloniki, His Holiness Anthimos has reached national prominence due to his adamant positions in national issues and in specific the name dispute with the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. He also expressed his fierce opposition to the decision of the Greek Government to abolish the voice «religion» in national greek identity cards; he held a protagonist role in the staging of massive protests while the current ArchBishop of Greece Ieronimos, then only a Metropolite, was much more hesitant to participate in the protests.
During a recent congress on the Holocaust which took place in Thessaloniki diverse opinions were voiced stating that while aid to the Jewish Greeks is well documented, the story of local collaborators and the destiny of Jewish properties remains vague. His Holiness wrote a letter to the newspaper that stated that the Metropolite of Thessaloniki Yennadios was declared as Just by Yad Vassem and denied any form of local collaboration with the nazi Germany or that the Church of Thessaloniki benefited by jewish property. He ended the letter by stating:
«Never in so many years, from the time after the war, has any charge been brought forward on the looting of property belonging to Jewish Greeks by the Christian Greeks. The established historical truth is this regarding the Jews of Thessaloniki and the archives of our Holy Metropolis are irrefutable.»
I don’t really have to comment much, this subject is waaay too big. I would just like to contribute a small photo to the archives of the Metropolis of Thessaloniki:
Gravestones from the Jewish Cemetery in the courtyard of the Church of St.Demetrius of Thessaloniki, (the Church) destroyed during the fire of August of 1917.
His, evident, failure in finding any evidence of wrong doing is strange but not a first. Back in 2000, when he was heading the Metropolis of Alexandroupolis, he had problems with history records and with anyone not fitting his portrait of ideal greek. Let’s remember his statements as they appeared in Avgi newspaper on August the 27th 2000:
«I want you to bring to me – said Anthimos of Alexandroupolis, the names of the Catholics or the Jews who have fallen in the Epic of Albania. It is a matter of blood and sacrifice. We are going to get killed and others shall enjoy the freedoms? Let them go where their country is.«
Out of a population of around 77.000 Jews in 1940, 12.898 Jews were enlisted in the Greek Army. Out of these 12.898, 513 were killed and 5.743 wounded. A further 186 remained invalid because of the frostbites and hardships in the Albanian Front. The 56th Regiment and the 600th Regiment (dubbed «Cohen Regiment because of the presence of almost only Jews) were formed in their majority by Jews of Thessaloniki and greek Macedonia.
One of the most important heroes of the italian invasion was Lieutenant Colonel, (later becoming Colonel), Mordochaios Frizis who died repelling the italian offensive with his 8th Division on December 5th 1940.
On the 27th of October 2003, the President of the Greek Republic, mr.Stefanopoulos inaugurated a monument to the fallen Jewish Greeks and acknowledged their contribution in defending our country. The ceremony was attended by ministers, the head of the opposition mr.Karamanlis but not by the late ArchBishop Christodoulos who declined the invitation. I think H.H. Anthimos should address the General Army Staff of the Greek Army which I’m sure will be happy to provide him with the names of these 12.898 soldiers.
I have already offered him one… And while he’s at it, please do re-check the irrefutable archives of his…
The letter of H.H.Anthimos (thanks to mr.Dimitra from the Helskinki Watch for pointing this out)
The first of the 3 posts dedicated to the Jewish Cemetery of Thessaloniki destroyed by civilian authorities. (the photo can be found there)