VAN, Turkey, June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Turkish Jewish Community, with support from AJC, dedicated today a new school in Van, an area devastated by a powerful earthquake on October 23, 2011.
"Our commitment to provide assistance in humanitarian disasters is a vital part of AJC's mission," said Jason Isaacson, director of AJC's Office of Government and International Affairs. "The AJC partnership with Turkey's Jewish Community is longstanding, and we are delighted to see this new school ready to educate the children of families who lost their homes, schools and loved ones."
The Selahattin Ulkumen Primary School, located in the village of Kiratli, will accommodate 400 children in a new, computer-equipped building. The school is named after the man who was Turkey's consul general in Rhodes during World War II, and saved 42 Jewish families from the Nazis.
"Honoring the memory of Selahattin Ulkumen, a righteous among the nations, is a lasting tribute to historical relations between Turkey and the Jewish people," said Isaacson.
Representatives of the Turkish education and foreign ministries joined with the Van governor and other officials in the dedication of the school.
Other Turkish diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust will be honored on a special board to be affixed on a wall inside the school. They are Necdet Kent, who was Turkey's Consul General in Marseilles, France; Behic Erkin, who was Turkey's ambassador to Paris; and Namik Kemal Yolga, who was the vice consul at the Turkish Embassy in Paris.
In addition to AJC, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, another longtime partner of the Turkish Jewish community, also contributed to the school's construction.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee