Pupils from schools in Attica, the Thessaloniki region, Hania, Heraklion, Arta, Tripoli and Trikala who excelled in the competition “The Holocaust and the Greek Jews” were awarded by the General Secretary of Religions, George Kalantzis. The pupils who received awards in the competition – which has been organised annually by the General Secretary of Religious Affairs in collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Greece since 2015 – shared experiences of their visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.
The award ceremony was opened by the Secretary General of Religions, who stressed the importance of consolidating the institution of the school competition to promote respect for human rights and for its value as an experience. The Director of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Ms Zanet Battinou, started and then coordinated a discussion. The aim of the meeting was also to complete the educational process that started at the beginning of the school year with the announcement of the competition. It gave pupils the opportunity to reflect on what they had been studying from another perspective. Thus, the pupils engaged in an in-depth discussion on the experience of visiting the emblematic site of martyrdom. The discussion was as substantial as it was emotional. The pupils spoke about the contradiction between the beauty of the nature of the place with the horror of crimes that took place there, the limit of human perversion, and the incomprehensible nature of the crimes committed. Those that wished to do so also presented original artwork they created after the visit (mostly poems). An enthusiastic Mr. Kalanztis then handed the awards to the pupils, praising their efforts.
Below are snapshots from the visit and the award ceremony.