Heads of Three Major Greek Cities Take Part in Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism as Country Assumes IHRA Presidency

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis speaks at the 2021 Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism.

April 8, 2021

Leaders of three major Greek cities were featured speakers at the first-ever Mayors Summit Against Anti-Semitism hosted last month by the Frankfurt am Main municipality in partnership with the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM).

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, Thessaloniki Mayor Konstantinos Zervas, and Ioannina Mayor Moses Elisaf were among the heads of 32 cities from 21 countries who came together for a common mission — the eradication of religious hatred and prejudice at the local level.

The event was held just two weeks before Greece assumed the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) for the coming year, with Ambassador Christodoulos Lazaros serving as chairman and a focus on the theme of Holocaust education.

In his remarks at the summit, Mayor Bakoyannis said, “Historically, antisemitism has been the result of lies and disinformation. We will actively discourage any sort of discrimination or any attempt to weaponize the Holocaust. We believe in a proactive approach, in a culture of education.”

Mayor Bakoyannis’ interview (begins at 33:00):

Mayor Zervas stated, “The denial and distortion of history is in fact an assault on truth and insults the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Comprehending and keeping the past alive are very crucial.”

Mayor Zervas’ interview:

Mayor Elisaf — the first-ever Jewish mayor of a Greek city — commented, “Local authorities should take appropriate initiatives to forward the education of the new generation in the principles of political or religious tolerance into diversity with full respect with all human beings.”

Mayor Elisaf’s statement:

In 2021 and 2022, regional follow-up conferences will be held to facilitate the implementation of the visions shared at the Mayors Summit.