Thessaloniki, Greece
Thessaloniki, Greece iStock

The Greek Jewish Community called for Thessaloniki Liberty Square, where on “Black Saturday” in 1942 Jewish men were deported for forced labor fpr the German army, to be made into a place of remembrance.

The event occurred on July 11 of that year at the square in central Thessaloniki when “Jewish men were gathered at Liberty Square (Plateia Eleftheria) in central Thessaloniki and were subjected to humiliation and abuse,” the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece said.

Around 2,000 of them were deported to be used as forced labor for the Nazis.

“Eleftherias Square marks the place where the Nazis began to strip the humanity of people born Jewish. It is the beginning of the ‘ultimate evil’ that led to the Holocaust of 6,000,000 Jews, including 60,000 Greek Jews, many of whom defended their homeland and fought against the Italian and German occupiers and breathed their last breath in the concentration camps with Greece deeply rooted in their souls,” the Board said.

“Exactly 80 years later, we hope that the commitment of the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Konstantinos Zervas, will be realized and that Eleftherias Square will finally acquire its historical character as a place of remembrance of the thousands of Jews who were tortured by the Nazis before being taken to forced labour and then to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.”

They called for the memorial as “it is the responsibility of all of us to make Freedom Square a place of remembrance again.”

The monument would enable “the citizens and visitors of the city [to] see the place of martyrdom, remember and learn how easily a society can be led down the path of barbarism if oblivion prevails.”