Jewish Heritage Report
Vol. I, Nos. 3-4 / Winter 1997-98
Holocaust Memorial in Salonika
Holocaust Memorial - Last Work of Nandor Glid - Unveiled in Salonika, Greece
Prior to 1997 Salonika has never publicly acknowledged the destruction of its Jewish population, which in the 19th century constituted two-thirds of the city. This past year, however, a Monument to Jewish Holocaust Victims has been erected by sculptor Nandor Glid to commemorate the loss. The memorial was dedicated by the President of Greece, Constantine Stephanopoulos, on Sunday, November 23, 1997. The project was organized by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the cost of the monument (the bronze casting alone cost 40,000,000 drs. - approx. US$140,000) has been borne by the state.
A national competition was announced in December 1996 by the Greek Ministry of Culture, Department of the Arts and Erection of Monuments. The triangular intersection of three streets, Nea Egnatia, Papanastasiou and Kleanthous, was chosen for the monument due to its proximity to the pre-World War II Jewish quarter. The competition did not produce a first prize. Eventually, the same Ministry, with the co-operation of the Jewish Community of Salonika, agreed on the a non-Greek sculptor - Nandor Glid - for the project. Sadly, Professor Glid died in 1997, and the work was completed based on his design by his son Daniel Glid. The elder Glid was born in Yugoslavia in 1924, and was taken to Segedin to do forced labor while his family was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. He later fought with the partisans until wounded in March 1945 at Bolman. He was awarded the Order of the National Merit in 1972, became a professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1975, and elected as chairman (1979), and then rector (1985) of Belgrade University of Arts. He exhibited his work widely. Among his monument works are the Mauthausen monument in Zavala (Bosnia, 1958), The Ballad of the Hanged (Subotica, 1967), Dachau monument (1968), Yad Vashem monument (Jerusalem, 1979), and the monument of the Jewish victims of the genocide in Belgrade, on the bank of Danube river (1990). This last monument has served as the model for the monument in Thessaloniki.
The Salonika monument is in the form of a fire, which rises from the ground on a tubular base, then springs out in an intricate composition that resembles bodies, until it reaches the sky, with the bodies transformed into birds with open wings. A very beautiful gesture and a very elegant composition in bronze.
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