Ioannina Mayor Moises Elisaf, Greece’s First Jewish Mayor, Dies at 68

February 18, 2023

ATHENS – Ioannina Mayor Moisis Elisaf, Greece’s first elected Jewish mayor, died on Friday afternoon from cancer. He was 68 years old.

A pathologist in training, Elisaf had a very busy life as a doctor and resarcher, with hundreds of published articles and activities in several medical societies. His participation in city committees as of 2011 eventually led to his election as mayor of Ioannina (also known as Yannena), the western Greek city of Epirus, in June 2019 under a collective that combined center-left and conservative members.

For several years, Elisaf served as member and head of the Central Jewish Council of Greece, while he was also president of the Jewish Community of Ioannina.

Professor Elisaf was born in Ioannina, city with a historic Romaniote Jewish community, in 1954. His parents survived the Holocaust and escaped to the Middle East, but his grandparents and several family members perished in Auschwitz and Birkenau. His father ran a fabrics store and his mother was a housewife.

After graduating from the University of Athens Medical School in 1979, he worked as a researcher in the University of Tel-Aviv on lipids and atherosclerosis, his lifelong research focus. His longest affiliation was with the University of Ioannina Medical School and its University Hospital, where he taught pathology and served as head of the University Hospital’s Second department of Internal Medicine. He was also head of the same hospital’s Lipids, Atherosclerosis and Obesity Clinic.

Professor Elisaf was an active member of 27 scientific associations and he served in leading positions of Greek societies like the Hellenic Atherosclerosis Society and president of the American Society of Angiology’s Greek section, among others. He served on the editorial board of dozens of international medical journals and referree for over a hundred. His published articles numbered 772 and he had published 2 books on his research interests.

Funeral on Sunday

Messages of condolences were sent by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, President of the Greek Parliament Constantine Tassoulas, Greek deputies, regional authorities, and German Ambassador to Athens Ernst Reichel, among others.

The city council held an extraordinary meeting to cancel all events for the city anniversary celebrations and honor the late mayor at 11:00 on Saturday.

Moisis Elisaf will be buried at 13:00 on Sunday, at the Holy Synagogue of Ioannina, where his family will receive condolences. The family has requested donations to the Synagogue instead of flower tributes.


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