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25 October, 2002
US ambassador in Athens Thomas Miller has been named as the 2003 recipient of the annual Frizis Award, the Washington-based National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) announced Thursday, the day after the remains of Colonel Mordechai Frizis, the first hing-ranking Greek military officer killed in the war against the Axis powers, were returned to Greece.
The award, named after Jewish Greek hero Mardohaios (Mordechai) Frizis, who was "the first high-ranking Greek military officer to give his life in defense of freedom against the Axis powers", is presented annually and contains soil from Greece, Israel and the United States.
"The Frizis Award, conceived and developed by CEH, is reserved for only the highest-level, most consequential Jewish leaders in the US government who have also made significant contributions to Hellenic issues," CEH said in a statement.
"The remains of...Colonel Mardohaios Frizis will soon find their final resting place. We are proud to be a part of these ceremonies honoring Colonel Frizis and proud to continue to honor his name each year with the presentation of the Frizis Award in Washington, D.C.," CEH said.
Colonel Frizia's remains, which were recently found and identified in Albania, arrived Wednesday in his homeland of Thessaloniki, and were buried yesterday with full military honors during a ceremony at the Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki.
Previous recipients of this award, first presented in 1993, include Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman 2002, then-National Security Council Advisor Sandy Berger 1997, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke 1996, and Honorary President of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Maynard Wishner 1993 (the first recipient).
There are two statues of Colonel Frizis in Greece -- one at the War Museum in Thessaloniki and one at the War Museum in Athens. During the war of 1940-41, 12,898 Jewish Greeks were drafted, 343 became officers, 513 were killed, and 3,743 were wounded. Col. Frizis was killed while fighting in Premeti on December 5, 1941.
Source: Athens News Agency