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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 October 2019
OUR STORIES 16 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Thread of Memory: Jews of Veria remember the Holocaust A s part of last month's Holocaust Memorial in Veria, Central Macedonia, an estimated 2000 people attended The Thread of Memory, in memory of the 460 members of Veria's Jewish Community who perished in the Nazi Death Camps. The Thread of Memory was a three-day program of events culminated with an installation and concert, curated and performed by renowned Veria born soprano, Sonia Theodoridou and including other artists. The program also featured a march that included the unfurling of a threekilometre red thread by students and participants. "The red thread traverses in the footprints of all the people that have been deported from their homes. It lays out the path of blood," Sonia Theodoridou said. The artwork "binds us" by a grid that begins in front of the Synagogue in the old Jewish neighbourhood of Barbouta. Local students with the names of the Jewish-Greeks that perished in the Holocaust followed the famous soprano with the memorial thread. The three-kilometre course began at the Synagogue and ended at the railway station from where Jews were deported to Auschwitz – Birkenau in WWII. Rabbi Aaron Israel of Thessaloniki prayed at the commemoration ceremony, and Mayor of Veria, Konstantinos Voryiazidis, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, David Saltiel and Sonia Theodoridou addressed the audience. Ms Theodoridou said it was a "thread of memory and responsibility". The thread passed from the uphill alleys to the central avenues of Veria. At the entrance of the railway station Luxembourg cellist and composer Andre Morgenthaller met the marchers. Soprano Theodoridou then placed the red thread in front of the stage, and began with the hymn Eli – Eli. There was also an unveiling of the Holocaust Monument at the old Jewish cemetery, Promitheas. The monument includes a Menorah placed in front of a small house built where the Jewish cemetery stood before it was was ceded to the Municipality to house a sports centre. The Holocaust Monument, designed by David Frances, and looms over the surrounding elevated area, over which some still remaining tombstones are laying. These gave the placename "Jewish tombs" to the area. Three marble plaques engraved in Greek, English and Hebrew with "460 Jews of Veria were deported from their birthplace on 1st May 1943 and exterminated by the Nazis in the Death Camps of Birkenau and Auschwitz. The City of Veria remembers the Holocaust of the 6,000,000 Jews and dedicates this monument to the holy memory of the victims." During his speech, at the unveiling ceremony, the Mayor of Veria Konstantinos Voryiazidis said it was an "historic day" adding Cotsis’ Crystal Palace explores the world B illy Cotsis, Neos Kosmos' own writer, is about to release his new book, Once Upon a Time in Crystal Palace. His latest novel varies significantly from his journalistic and documentary work, usually focused on Greek communities or history around the world. His work allows him to return to a type of fiction he experimented with in the mid2010s with a series of short film satires; only this time, his exploration takes written form. "With Brexit coming and the fact I was a resident in Crystal Palace in London for a few years, I thought it would be a good time to write a story that takes in the divisiveness of Brexit. To make it work, I drew on a range of stories I experienced, witnessed or read about in London and elsewhere to create a range of characters who play for a fictional football team called Crystal Palace," he says. The main characters are of course Greek, and the local Greek Orthodox Church also comes into play on occasions to ensure a strong Greek flavour. Cotsis goes on to explain that the team is "fighting relegation, trying to win the FA Cup as their form dips and each player seemingly becomes involved in a range of contemporary, societal issues." Those issues include domestic violence, bookies trying to influence sports, a hilarious attempt to avoid drugs, mental health and the role that friendship can play. The main 'players' are a Greek Aussie called Fillipos, named after the King of Macedon, Phillip II, who is woefully out of form, and Alcibiades, who is his jovial Cypriot sidekick. Other characters include Cindy who runs their favourite pub, Olga who is pivotal to some of the themes, Jamal who is the team Captain and Jenkins who is a bigot and a Brexit supporter. The book also explores women in the game, with a new female assistant manager Fernandinha being appointed to the team, as well as a bad ass player agent Raelene. Readers will also note the introduction of a woman to the commentary box and as a referee. "Football remains a blokey run sport at the top mainstream end, but I think changes are starting to be embraced as we see women's sport featuring more in people's consciousness, media and within the running of individual sports. There is still a long way to go before there is parity," Cotsis says. As for Cotsis' old neighbourhood in London, he takes a nostalgic look. "Crystal Palace, there is no place in the world like it. Eclectic, diverse, dinosaurs in the park, an Eiffel Tower of their own and a real sense of community. That all comes through in the book." His hopes for the book? "Aside from showcasing my nostalgic Crystal Palace and touching on some fast-paced stories and issues with a sense of humour and drama, I hope that people will also see my attachment to Belmore and Canterbury as the main star is of course from Canterbury. In fact, we draft in an X Factor player from Olympic FC and Belmore, Alejandro, who is based on the former LA Liga player Dr Alex Sanchez, who now plays for Olympic FC as their star striker. I even find a way to mention Mytilenean House which is in Canterbury." Should the book be well received, there is scope to make this into a film, which would be a dream come true. "My London based filmmaker friend Basil Genimahaliotis and I make a range of documentaries and it is hoped that we now have the ingredients to create a film. We have a trilogy about the Greek areas of Italy coming out soon," he says. As the interview concludes, Cotsis makes the point that his proof readers came from all over the world. This includes a fellow author Melissa Georgiou in Finland, a teacher in Cyprus, Sophie Papatheocharous who read from a mountain retreat, journalist Gina Mamouzelos "who is not only a great supporter, she asked me to send her a draft to read within a few moments of hearing about the book," Shirley Kapatanos Katsoulakos (assisted by husband Michael for some football references) in Sydney and Emmanuel Tooulou in Adelaide. Some of the pictures that were used as inspiration for the book came from Stella KarrasBrown in London just before publication, and the book cover was designed by Magdalena Braconi Gonzalez in Argentina. Even the typography inlay was set by a Spanish born football colleague, Dr Victor Jauregui. A truly worldwide effort, in keeping with the global nature of Crystal Palace and London. *Once Upon a time in Crystal Billy Cotsis’ new book will be released at the end of October with the official launch on 17 November. Billy Cotsis outside the Crystal Palace featured in the work. Palace is also available in Amazon from the end of October. The official launch is due on Sunday, 17 November at the Greek Bilingual Bookstore at 837 New Canterbury Road, Hurlstone Park. Initial stores will be Belmore and Kingsgrove newsagents, the Bilingual Bookstore and Amazon. For more info, contact ineuropewithbillycotsis@ yahoo.com.au 0419245372 that the conservation of Memory is a "moral duty". He said that if the local Jewish Community hadn't perished, "Veria would be a culturally richer city today." "It is important to remember and to learn this chapter of history on Jewish life here," added the Israeli Ambassador to Greece, Yossi Amrani. "The Memorial consists an homage and an expectation for the future", the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities Greece, David Saltiel, said after he unveiled, the Monument, mentioning the necessity that the monument is a "living interaction with history".
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