Moses Constantinis, Central Board of Jewish Communities Fmr. President, Has Died

Moses Constantinis. Photo: (EUROKINISSI/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – The former President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Moses Constantinis passed away on September 20.

A consultant on philately for the Hellenic Post since 1970, member of the American Philatelic Society and the International Association of Philatelic Journalists, he was for many years General Secretary of the Hellenic Philatelic Society and was an honorary member of other Greek philatelic organizations.

He was awarded the Golden Eagle of Revelation with a Patriarchal Diploma and has received awards, medals and distinctions at international and pan-Hellenic postal and philatelic exhibitions.

According to the KIS website, “his award winning writings, his contribution to the Greek Jewry, to the preservation of historical memory, to issues of education and culture were invaluable not only for the Jewish Community but also for the entire society.”

According to his biography, he was born in Athens in 1932, and his family contributed to Greek and to Jewish life as well. His father, Kanaris Constantinis, was a founding member, as well as the first President, of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (in 1945), the umbrella Organization of the Greek Jewry, founded after World War II in order to reconstruct Jewish life in Greece and re-organize Community structure.

In his youth, Constantinis had been highly involved within the Jewish Organizations in Athens. During the 1950’s he was President of the Zionist Youth Organization and he was publishing the Jewish paper Al Magor. A keen researcher of the Greek Jewish history, he has been the key speaker at a number of meetings and for both Jewish and non Jewish.

President of the Public Relations Committee of KIS from 1980 to 1997, Constaninis was the Secretary General of the KIS Board from 1991 to 1997. He also served as Vice President at the Board of the Jewish Museum of Greece since its foundation in 1977.

In January 1998, he was for the first time elected President of the KIS Board. From January 2001 to January 2010 he was re-elected to the Presidency of the KIS Board by the General Assembly of Representatives of the Jewish Communities in Greece. In January 12, 2015, he once again assumed the Presidency of the Board of KIS and maintained this position until 2016.

In his private life, Constantinis worked as a Special Advisor at the Hellenic Post for more than 40 years and he has many times officially represented Greece in international meetings. He authored twelve books on Jewish and non-Jewish subjects. For his book on the history of the Hellenic Post, he received the Award of the Academy of Athens. The Hellenic Post included Moses Constantinis in a commemorative set of stamps dedicated to the “Figures of Greek Philately.”

He was proclaimed as honorary member of the Jewish Communities of Thessaloniki, Volos, and Larissa. His work for the benefit of Judaism and Jewish issues has been awarded by the State of Israel, the American Jewish Committee, and Keren Hayesod.

Constantinis is survived by his wife, two children, and six grandchildren.

The funeral will be held Sunday, September 23, at 3 PM at the Jewish Cemetery of Athens (Jewish section of the 3rd Cemetery of Nikaia).