Greece

1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

Greece observes 27th January as Holocaust Memorial Day. The day is officially called the National Day of Remembrance of Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust. The purpose of this day is to remember the abrupt end to the rich contribution of the Jewish community to Greek society, especially in Thessaloniki, as a result of World War II, and to remember their persecution during the war and the Holocaust. The date was established in a law adopted unanimously by the Greek Parliament in 2004. A presidential decree published on 28th February 2005 regulates the commemorative events taking place in accordance with the law in different prefectures of the country. The date has been officially commemorated since 2005.

According to the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, in Greece the Holocaust is defined as “the systematic and planned Genocide of Jews, mainly in Europe, by the National Socialist regime of Germany during World War II”. There are no mentions about the Roma people in the definition.

Commemorative events are organised in the most important religious and cultural centres: at big concert halls, synagogues and universities, mainly in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Greece also commemorates Roma victims on the anniversary of the liquidation of the Roma (from 2nd to 3rd of August 1944) in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

1.2 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

The number of Greek Roma victims is estimated to be 50 individuals, in the remembrance process, it has been overshadowed by the death of 59 000 Jews.

Local population did not participate in the hunt for Roma. The Romanis of Greece were taken hostage and prepared for deportation to Auschwitz, but were saved by appeals from the Archbishop of Athens and the Greek Prime Minister.

There is no remembrance place for Roma.

1.3 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

There is no specialised institution dealing with the Genocide of the Roma in Greece.

1.4 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

Official commemorative events are held in different regions of Greece. As part of Holocaust Memorial Day, a series of joint events are carried out in the prefectures and among local Jewish communities. These commemorations take place at Holocaust sites, where wreaths are laid on behalf of the Government, the Parliament, political parties, etc.

No official initiative regarding the Genocide of the Roma has been reported from Greece.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

According to OSCE, the “Holocaust is a mandatory subject taught in the history curriculum under the topic of World War II. It is also presented in the areas of literature, sociology, and political science. Students encounter the topic for the first time at the ages of 11-12 and subsequently at the ages of 14-15 and 17-18. School textbooks provide photographs, maps, and references to the concentration camps of Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Some textbooks include excerpts from The Diary of Anne Frank and The Third Reich and the Jews, by L. Polliakof and Z. Woulf, as well as excerpts from the testimonies of Jewish Greek Holocaust survivors.” It is unknown whether Roma are included in these curricula (Education on the Holocaust and on Anti-Semitism, p. 74).

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

The Pedagogical Institute has been revising schoolbooks according to the guidelines established by International Holocaust Remembrance Association. The Greek Pedagogical Institute (Pedagogical Institute of Greece; Hellenic Pedagogical Institute; PI) operates under the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and offers a Distance Learning Centre which provides distance training to educators of Primary and Secondary Education. Unfortunately it is unknown whether Roma are included in the textbooks.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

The first teacher training seminar was in October 2004 and was followed by the distribution of Holocaust-related teaching materials. This action was conducted by the Jewish Museum of Greece. The museum continues to organize seminars to train teachers almost every year. In 2012, the museum organised a seminar for teachers on teaching the Holocaust to Roma children, but the purpose was to familiarise the teachers with the museum so that they can adapt this topic to the needs of Roma pupils and not to present the Genocide of the Roma.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

2.5 Remembrance day

A number of activities are organized to mark Holocaust Remembrance Days at schools in Greece. The Ministry of Education supports the participation of schools in activities implemented by competent bodies during Holocaust Memorial Day. All the activities (visits, presentations, circularsn teacher trainings...) are made in cooperation with the Jewish Museum. The emphasis is clearly put on the Jewish Holocaust.

The Remembrance Day for the Genocide of the Roma (2nd August) is not observed in Greek schools.

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

The Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs is responsible for Racism and Holocaust Issues.

The person responsible is:
Paraskevi Pantidonasiou
E-mail: eidpode@ypepth.gr
Telephone: 210-3241612
Fax: 210-3226313

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

4 Initiatives of the civil society

4.1 Relevant projects having a real impact on the people and/or the wide public

For many years in Greece there was no special state or local policy toward the Roma and their problems. In June 1996, the Greek Government announced a Framework Program consisting of a series of measures focused on the problems that Roma communities of Greece are facing. For the coordination of it a special Inter-ministerial Policy Council for Greek Roma was created. The Council includes government officials from different ministries, local officials, while representatives from other organisations and authorities dealing with Roma issues could be invited to take part in the proceedings. The Council is entrusted with advising the Government on Roma-related issues and measures, as well as co-ordinating Roma-oriented policies, with a view to formulating a mid-term national policy for the Roma of Greece. The accents of the program are mainly on the housing problems and the Roma education.
The Framework Program was developed and realized in close collaboration with Πανελλήνια Ομοσπονδία Σωματείων Ελλήνων Ρομ (Π.Ο.Σ.Ε.Ρ) - Panhellenic Federation of Greek Roma Associations (POSER) -, an association of different Roma NGO’s from around the country.

Πανελλήνια Ομοσπονδία Σωματείων Ελλήνων Ρομ (Π.Ο.Σ.Ε.Ρ) - Panhellenic Federation of Greek Roma Associations (POSER)
Contact person: Christos Labrov
Address: El. Venizelou / Aioulu 2 Street
             123 51, Aghia Varvara, Athens, Greece
Tel.: +30 210 5691 793
Fax: +30 210 5694 696
Nowadays, in Greece there are dozens of Roma organizations, many of which are united under the umbrella organization Panhellenic Federation of Greek Roma Associations (POSER). In 2001 the following 19 organizations are included in the Association:

Association of Gypsies from Aghia Varvara;
Association of Gypsies from Zefyri;
Association of Gypsies from Ilion "Romiosini";
Association of Gypsies from Ilion "Care for Destitute and Homeless Athiganoi";
Association of Gypsies from Seres "Restoration";
Association of Gypsies from Xanthi;
Association of Gypsies from Thessaloniki "Macedonia";
Association of Gypsies from Komotini ROM;
Solidarity Centre of Roma Women;
Association of Gypsies from Tripoli;
Association of Gypsies of Thessaloniki "Love";
Association of Gypsies from Pirgos;
Association of Gypsies from Thessaloniki "Rom";
Association of Gypsies from Amaliada;
Association of the Gypsy Community from Potismeno Serres;
Association of the Gypsy Community from Orhomeno;
Association of Gypsies from Sofades;
Association of Gypsies from Tirnavos;
Association of Gypsies from Axios.

In 2001, the Πανελλαδικό Διαδημοτικό Δίκτυο για την Υποστήριξη των Ελλήνων Τσιγγάνων - ROM  / the Panhellenic Intermunicipal Network for the Support of Hellenes Roma (Rom network) was created, and it became actively engaged in realization of the state program and the actions of the local authorities for improving of the Roma situation in Greece. See http://rom.net.gr/node/48.

Πανελλαδικό Διαδημοτικό Δίκτυο για την Υποστήριξη των Ελλήνων Τσιγγάνων - ROM  / the Panhellenic Intermunicipal Network for the Support of Hellenes Roma (Rom network)
Address: Thivon 499, 1243 Egaleo, Athens, Greece
Tel.: + 30 15900986
Fax: +30 15913460
Other contacts are:

ΟικοΚοινωνία / OikoKoinonia (Citizens' Initiative for the Social Residence and the Support of Social Inclusion of Rom)
Contact person: Anastasia Chatzinikolaou
Address: Vilara 7 - Valaoritou, 546 25 Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel.: +30 2310 326419
Fax: +30 2310 523084
E-mail: info@oikokoinonia.gr

 

5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies