Israeli leader at Greek holocaust museum foundation-laying

Israeli leader at Greek holocaust museum foundation-laying
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin right, and Greek Prime minister Alexis Tsipras participate in a foundation stone-laying ceremony for a planed Holocaust museum, in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Tuesday, Jan. 30 2018. Thessaloniki's new museum will be built next to the railway station where the city's Jews boarded the trains taking them to the camps. Thessaloniki's 55,000-strong Jewish population was deported by Nazi forces during World War II and most of its members were murdered in German concentration camps.(AP Photo/ Giannis Papanikos)

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Israel’s president and Greece’s prime minister have attended a foundation ceremony for a holocaust museum in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, which lost 97 percent of its Jewish community in German World War II death camps.

Reuven Rivlin and Alexis Tsipras symbolically planted two olive trees on the plot.

The scheduled six-story building will be built by 2020, next to the northern city’s old railway station, from which some 55,000 Thessaloniki Jews were forced into goods wagons for the camps. About 50,000 died there.

Tsipras said Tuesday the museum will fulfill an old debt for the city, some 40 percent of whose pre-war population was Jewish.

Overall, some 90 percent of Greece’s Jewish population was murdered by Nazi forces during the war.