75TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARCHBISHOP DAMASKINOS’ LETTER OF PROTEST AGAINST THE HOLOCAUST
HISTORIC LETTER STANDS OUT IN WORLD HISTORY AS THE ONLY FORMAL PROTEST BY A WORLDWIDE LEADER AGAINST THE HOLOCAUST DURING WORLD WAR II
PEORIA, IL: On March 18, 2018, the Jewish Federation of Peoria and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago hosted an educational presentation at the Peoria Riverfront Museum recognizing the 75th Anniversary of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Damaskinos’ Letter of Protest Against the Holocaust.
While living in Nazi occupied Greece, Archbishop Damaskinos stands out as the only worldwide leader to formally protest the Holocaust during World War II. As a result of his letter of protest, Archbishop Damaskinos was called before an SS firing squad. Also as a result of his letter and actions, over 10,000 Greek Jews found safety and survived the Holocaust.
During World War II, Archbishop Damaskinos stood alone in protesting the Holocaust. Today, the lessons within this historic document we can still learn from.
Polyxeni Petropoulou, the Consul General of Greece in Chicago, made her first ever visit to Peoria and downstate Illinois to participate at this event. Speakers at this event included the testimonials of Lara Ackerman of Peoria whose Greek grandfather survived the Holocaust in Greece and Greek Orthodox parishioner Archon Frank Lagouros of Peoria whose father rescued Greek Jews following the actions of Archbishop Damaskinos. The event concluded with a moment of silence and the reading of the historic letter of protest at the Holocaust Memorial outside of the Peoria Riverfront Museum.
This was the first of three presentations the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago is hosting bringing attention to the upcoming 75th Anniversary of Archbishop Damaskinos Holocaust Letter of Protest. Other presentations have been scheduled for March 20 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Parish in Milwaukee and March 23 in Des Moines at the Iowa State Capitol.