Jewish man elected mayor for first time in Greece

Published 03.06.2019 21:16

A 65-year-old doctor is believed to be the first Jewish person elected mayor in Greece.

Independent candidate Moses Elisaf won 50.3 percent of the vote in the municipal election in the city of Ioannina. Elisaf received 17,789 votes, 235 more than his runoff opponent.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) welcomed the mayor's election on Monday.

"For the Greek Jewry, the success of Moses Elisaf signals a very important cornerstone for the history of the Jewish presence, both at the city of Ioannina, as well as in Greece," KIS said in a statement.

Seventy-five years after the deportation and murder of around 2,000 Ioannina Jews, the city's citizens have sent a loud message against fanaticism and anti-Semitism, KIS said.

"My fellow citizens have opened a new page in the history of the city," Elisaf said on Greek radio.

He is non-partisan and won a run-off election in the Greek municipal elections.

On March 25, 1944, the Nazis deported the Jews from Ioannina. Almost all were murdered in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

Almost all other Greek Jews had the same fate.

Former German president Joachim Gauck visited Ioannina in 2014 and apologized for the atrocities. He was then received by Elisaf, who in 2014 chaired the small Jewish community of Ioannina.

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