Reuven Rivlin
Reuven Rivlin Flash 90

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday announced the northern port city of Thessaloniki is to host a Holocaust museum, during a visit to the site with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos and the German government will each make a 10 million euro ($12 million) donation to cover the bulk of the cost of the museum on the site of a former railway station from where trains transported prisoners to the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied

Other donations will complete the overall 22 million euro cost.

"The Holocaust museum is an homage to 50,000 Greek Jews from Thessaloniki - young people, children, elderly exterminated in the concentration camps," said Tsipras. "Nothing and nobody has been forgotten - neither the criminals nor the victims," he added.

Work on the 7,000 square meter (75,000 square feet) site is due to start later this year with completion set for 2020.

"Ninety percent of Greek Jews from Thessaloniki were exterminated - this museum will be a place of memory and witness," said Rivlin, who on Tuesday began a state visit.

Rivlin and Tsipras symbolically planted two olive trees in memory of the victims at a park adjoining the site of the future museum.

At the beginning of the last century Thessaloniki was known as the "Jerusalem of the Balkans" as its 50,000-strong Jewish contingent accounted for about one third of the city's population.

Today, the community has shrunk to just a few hundred.