Former Greek FM Proud of ‘Righteous Among Nations’ Title Awarded to Father by Yad Vashem
A former Greek government minister has said that receiving a posthumous award on behalf of his father who saved Jews during the Nazi occupation of World War II was the “biggest satisfaction I have felt in my life.”
Tassos Giannitsis — an economics professor and former Greek foreign minister — was speaking on Monday following a ceremony at Athens College to mark the honorific title of “Righteous Among the Nations” bestowed on his late father, Constantine Giannitsis, by Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem.
Constantine Giannitsis, a notary, arranged shelter for five members of the Moissis family in Athens — Asher, Miriam, Henriette, Miretta and Raphael — who came to him for help after learning of the deportation of Jews from the northern city of Salonika, now Thessaloniki, by the Nazi occupiers. He procured fake ID cards that identified the family as Christians, and the Moissis’s spent several months at his summer house in the suburb of Kifisia before being safely evacuated from Greece.
Tassos Giannitsis said that his father “did his duty based on the set of the values he held,” in comments reported by the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini.
“We viewed it the same way when he recounted it to us,” Tassos Giannitsis added.
“I want to say to all the young people to be fortunate, to learn from history and not to let others think and decide for them,” he told the students who attended the ceremony.
Constantine Giannitsis joined the more than 300 Greeks already recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” when he was recognized by Yad Vashem in 2018. The title is awarded to individuals who risked their lives assisting Jews trapped under German rule with hiding places, false papers and escape routes.