Yad Vashem Senior Historian Dr. Robert Rozett guiding the Greek Prime Minister in front of the Cattle Car – the Memorial to the Deportees located on Yad Vashem's Mount of Remembrance.
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17 June 2020
Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic (Greece) H.E. Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his wife visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, today, 17 June 2020.. Yad Vashem Director-General Dorit Novak greeted the Prime Minister and his delegation upon arrival to Yad Vashem, and they were accompanied throughout the visit by Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen. This marks the first official visit to Yad Vashem since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Prime Minister took part in a Memorial Ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Cattle Car – Memorial to the Deportees, and toured the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations. While in the Garden, the Prime Minister commemorated the memory of his grandmother's sister, Evangelia Georgiadou, awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1986 for rescuing a Jewish child during the Holocaust.
The Prime Minister signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book and received a facsimile copy of the original certificate awarded to his relative, as well as a volume of the Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations pertaining to Greek recipients of the title. To date, some 350 Greeks are included in the over 27,500 Righteous Among the Nations – non-Jews who endeavored to save Jews during the Holocaust at risk to their own lives.
"It was important for me to come here to honor the memory of Evangelia Georgiadou and all of the Greeks – as well as everyone else – who during the Holocaust, during this horrible unspeakable tragedy that will forever haunt humanity, performed acts of great bravery to save fellow human beings."
Evangelia Georgiadou (b. 1910), a mother of two, lived in Filothei, a suburb of Athens, Greece. She befriended Bianca Ventura, a Jewish woman originally from Crete, who came to Athens in 1942 after the Germans occupied the island. Bianca and her husband Rafael had two children, Yvette (b. 1936), and Joseph (b. 1938), who were approximately the same age as Georgiadou’s children. When the persecution of the Jews in Athens began, the Ventura family was left penniless. Thus, they began hiding at the homes of various Greek friends all over Athens.
As the situation for the Jews of Greece worsened and the risk to their hosts’ lives grew, Bianca and Raphael decided the family should split up. Bianca appealed to her friend Georgiadou to hide her daughter Yvette. Georgiadou agreed to take the girl into her home, offering her shelter, despite being fully aware of the risk involved. Yvette stayed with Georgiadou and her family from the beginning of 1944 until liberation in October 1944. She was welcomed warmly into the family and treated as Georgiadou’s third child.
Georgiadou did not disclose the girl’s true identity to her neighbors and friends. Once, when Yvette fell dangerously ill, Georgiadou provided her with the maximum medical treatment but did not contact Bianca so as not to worry her. Bianca was unable to communicate with Georgiadou and, therefore, had no news about her daughter, yet was confident that Yvette was in good hands. Bianca Ventura and Evangelia Georgiadou remained best friends after the war, and continued to meet regularly for many years.
On 3 November 1986, Yad Vashem recognized Evangelia Georgiadou as Righteous Among the Nations.