The Swiss embassy in Greece is organizing a one-day conference in Kavala on October 21-22 in memory of the thousands of Greek Jews of Eastern Macedonia who were murdered in Nazi concentration camps during the occupation of the area by the Bulgarian army.
The event is part of the priorities and programs formed by Switzerland as the chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) for 2017. The embassy chose Kavala as the host city after a proposal by Swiss Ambassador Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, who wished to link the historical past of Eastern Macedonia not only with the atrocities of the Nazi troops against Jews but also with the crimes committed by Bulgarian troops in the cities of Kavala and Drama against Greek Christians.
Speaking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), the Swiss ambassador said the event follows activities undertaken by the country in the last decades to maintain the memory of the Holocaust.
“It is an indication of our continued commitment to keeping the memory of the victims of the Nazi regime alive. What is the reason for this commitment? First: The crimes of the Nazis against humanity and the terrible suffering of the Jewish people and millions of other victims of the Nazi regime. It is our duty to maintain their memory and sensitize [people] to fight any form of genocide today and in the future. Second: Switzerland was never an island. Switzerland is part of Europe and its history is closely linked to European history. Swiss citizens were murdered in Auschwitz and other concentration and extermination camps. Some of them did not receive the support they hoped and deserved from the Swiss diplomatic delegations abroad. Other Swiss citizens abroad made every effort to save the Jews,” he said.
Ambassadors and consuls from the 31 member-states of IHRA as well as representatives of the Greek diplomatic corps have registered for the conference.