Des Moines Commemorates Archbishop Demaskinos and His Letter 

The Des Moines event commemorated Archbishop Damaskinos' Letter of Protest against the Holocaust. Photo by Jim Zeller

DES MOINES, IA – On March 23, the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, St. George Greek Orthodox Parish of Des Moines, and the University of Northern Iowa Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education hosted an educational presentation in the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol recognizing the 75th Anniversary of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Damaskinos’ Letter of Protest against the Holocaust.

Among the Speakers at this well-attended event were the Mayor of Des Moines Frank Cownie, Colonel Timothy Glynn of the Iowa National Guard, Dr. Stephen Gaies of the University of Northern Iowa, Director of Media Relations for Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago John Ackerman, Fr. Basil Hickman, and Rabbi Emily Barton.

During the Nazi occupation of Greece, Archbishop Damaskinos stands out as the only worldwide leader to formally protest the Holocaust during World War II. As a result of his letter of protest, Archbishop Damaskinos was called before an SS firing squad. Through his letter and actions, over 10,000 Greek Jews found safety and survived the Holocaust.

Photo L-R: Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Metropolis of Chicago Director of Media Relations John Ackerman, Rabbi Emily Barton, Dr Stephen Gaies of the University of Northern Iowa, Father Basil Hickman, Colonel Timothy Glynn, Professor Dennis Goldford of Drake University, Mark Finkelstein of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, and Sharon Goldford of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Photo by Jim Zeller
John Ackerman speaking at the event commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Archbishop Damaskinos’ Letter of Protest. Photo by Jim Zeller