From 03-10.10.2022 the second part of the German-Polish-Greek youth encounter “Entangled History” took place in Thessaloniki in Greece.
During the encounter, the young people from Germany, Poland and Greece dealt with the history of Greece during World War II and Jewish life in Thessaloniki in workshops, guided tours and discussions.
The young people learned about the history of Thessaloniki by visiting the exhibition in the White Tower and a city rally on the history of the German occupation. In a workshop and during a visit to the Jewish Museum, the young people learned about the Jewish history of Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki was the center of Sephardic Jewry in Europe with over 50,000 Jewish inhabitants. In the Jewish Museum, the young people also deepened their knowledge about the persecution and murder of Greek Jews. After exclusion, obligation to forced labor and resettlement in ghettos, the transports to Auschwitz began on March 15, 1943. Most of the people were murdered immediately after their arrival, only a few survived Auschwitz. Heinz Kounio, one of the few survivors, researched and recorded the names of the 50,000 victims of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki, to whom a memorial room is dedicated in the Jewish Museum.
Furthermore, the program included a study of the German occupation policy in Greece towards the civilian population. As part of the preparation for the visit to the martyred village of Chortiatis, the group met with members of the JoveNata Ensemble, who had performed the concert and performance “The leaves that remained” on the occasion of the commemoration on September 2, the anniversary of the massacre. The young people discussed with them the historical background and the different forms of remembrance. In the Chortiatis massacre, German soldiers and Greek collaborators under the command of Fritz Schubert perpetrated war crimes that claimed the lives of 149 civilians. The group was guided through the village by a Chortiatis resident who himself had lost relatives in the massacre.
The program also included a screening of the film "Mnéme - Holocaust in Thessaloniki", which was prepared by students of the German School Thessaloniki, a discussion with its director and a workshop on discrimination. At the end of the seminar, the participants developed their own memorial in a workshop, in which they processed the impressions of the week.
The youth exchange was carried out with the financial support of Erasmus+.
Organization and partners: Foundation for the IYMC in Oświęcim/Auschwitz, Kreisau-Initiative e.V. Berlin, Kreisau Foundation for mutual Understanding in Europe/Poland, EUphoria/Greece, Humboldt-Gymnasium Potsdam/Germany, XXVI Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. K. K. Baczyńskiego w Łodzi/Poland