Cyprus on Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary since the establishment of British camps on the island for the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in a ceremony at the former British Military Hospital (BMH) in Nicosia.
Attended by Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides, Israeli officials and Jewish community members, a monument was unveiled commemorating the 2,200 children in the camps to Holocaust survivors after internment began in 1946. In total 53,510 Jews were detained in the camps.
The event was addressed by Fokaides, who spoke of the great friendship between Cyprus and Israel, and Israeli ambassador to Cyprus Yael Ravia-Zadok.
“Our belief is that the relationship between Israel and Cyprus is a strategic choice at all levels. This is a natural development that has matured over the decades,” Fokaides said.
In her speech, Ravia-Zadok said that in Judaism there is a saying that whoever has saved a single soul, has saved the world.
“Throughout the course of these days of 1946-1949, there were many Cypriots who stretched their hands, opened their hearts, took a risk and indeed saved many Jewish souls, and thus saved the world,” she said.
Ravia-Zadok added that the Israel embassy in Cyprus in cooperation with the University of Haifa, the University of Cyprus and the embassy of Cyprus in Israel had launched an initiative for joint research in order to gather all information on the period of the detention camps, in order to establish a trilingual digital file to cover this chapter of history.