NEVER AGAIN THESSALONIKI – AUSCHWITZ : THE FIRST MEMORY WALK FOR THE JEWS OF SALONICA AND THE REACTIONS OF THE LOCAL PRESS. : A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS (CDA) AND REFLECTION.
Abstract: The end of the Second World War found the city of Thessaloniki devastated by the loss of nearly its total Jewish population in the concentration camps of the Third Reich. A few survivals return to their city just to realize that their fortunes have been confiscated either by the local authorities or by their Christian neighbors. Some Jews decide to leave their former homeland and some others take the decision to remain and start their life from scratch. For the following decades, the Jewish history of the city is being carefully and on purpose hidden and the collective memory erases the traces of Jews. In this part of the story, the Jews by themselves kept a low public profile and remained silent, struggling to survive and rebuild their fortunes. It was in 2013, when a heterogeneous group of people decided to launch the Memory Walk “Never Again” for the 50.000 Jews of Thessaloniki who lost their lives in the Shoa (Holocaust). The Memory walk had to deal with the barriers of the strong nationalistic profile of the city and of its local population. However, the Memory walk came to be established as an institution which exists and grows until today. The current paper examines how local digital media approached the first Memory walk taking into consideration the Jewish history, the stereotypes regarding Jews, the antisemitism and the strong nationalist and deeply religious profile of the city. The first part describes the Jewish presence in Thessaloniki under the Ottoman Empire, the consequences of the Hellenization of the city in 1912, the national identity formation process and the mobilizing role of the Orthodox Church in the political and cultural homogenization. In the second part, digital media articles related to the first Memory Walk are being analyzed according to the CDA (critical discourse analysis) and a critical reflection on how media approached the Memory walk is finally presented. The analysis results will be finalized with the conclusions which derive from in person interviews with key stakeholders of the Memory Walk.
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