We publish below photos of the recent desecration of the Trikala Jewish Cemetery, courtesy of Antiratsistiki Enimerosi. Jewish graves and memorials are a recurring target of vandals in Greece. Although the numbers of Greeks of Jewish religion is, according to the Greek Census, very low (5000, i.e. 0.05% of the Greek population) the incidents of antisemitic rhetoric and the recorded attacks against Jewish monuments or synagogues are disproportionately high, recent studies found.
September 8: At least four banners featuring antisemitic signs were displayed by violent protesters against the Macedonia name deal in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki (h/t Leon Saltiel). They read “Talmud, Qabballah, the Enemy of the Humanity”, “Against New World Order (with a red line erasing the Star of David), “Here Greece, Here Orthodoxy. Death to Zionism” and “Rothschild, your end is coming”.
“Rothschild, your end ist coming”: One of the antisemitic banners displayed in Thessaloniki. More signs at antisemitism.org.il
Late August: Antisemitic graffiti was sprayed on the wall of a house located in a central street of Sparta. The inscription reads “Death to the Jews” (Θάνατος στους Εβραίους), skalalakonias blog has reported.
Late August: The Ioannina section of leftist “Popular Unity” party opposed in a press release the twinning agreement between the city of Ioannina (northern Greece) and the city of Kiryat Ono calling Israel a “terrorist state”.
August 31: Hate graffiti, propaganda material and several christian symbols were found outside the construction site of a state-funded mosque in Athens, lifo.gr has reported. Some of the flyers posted outside the construction site are clearly antisemitic: “Out with the Freemasons and the Jews” and “All bank are controlled by Zionists,” they read.
August 30: An antisemitic sticker referring to the “Jews and money” stereotype with the slur “Jew dog” was found near the Byzantine Museum of Thessaloniki. The sticker was posted by followers of “Father Cleomenis,” a man who dresses as a monk and posts videos of himself on social media vandalizing monuments, most recently the Holocaust memorial in the Central Greece city of Larissa (h/t Racist Crime Watch).
Only days after the desecration of the Thessaloniki Holocaust memorial with red paint by Greek nationalists, the monument erected on the campus of Aristotle University in memory of the old Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki was smeared in blue paint and had a cross painted on it.
From the press release of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki:
The desecration is an insult to the Monument, which was erected to commemorate and restore to the collective memory the Jewish students of the Aristotle University who perished in the Nazi death camps. To link the current landscape of the site to its history and remind to everyone the existence of the old Jewish Cemetery destroyed by the Nazis and their collaborators in 1942. At the same time this extremely sad event is an act of great disrespect for the Aristotle University Thessaloniki, an institution of Education, a place for molding the character and consciousness of the younger generation.
From the press release of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece:
The University was built upon the shattered tombs and the scattered bones of our forefathers of Thessaloniki, while the Jews of Thessaloniki where confined into ghettos pending deportation. It took 72 years for the city to assume responsibility and pay tribute to the memory of the Jewish necropolis with the erection of this monument in 2014. Today, the memory of the Jews of Thessaloniki, along with the history and the culture of the city, are struck once more, by the preachers of hatred.
There remain no other words to describe the sorrow of the Greek Jews: Shame – Shame – Shame.
Learn more about the history related to the monument erected in 2014.
With a flower in hand, citizens of Thessaloniki gathered in the afternoon of July 4, 2018, in front of the Holocaust Memorial at Liberty Square to protest recent vandalisms of the monument.
Photo courtesy of Τρύφων Καλαμίτσης (Thessaloniki, July 4, 2018)
The Holocaust Monument in Thessaloniki was defaced with red paint in the night of Wednesday June 27, 2018. According to authorities and press reports, perpetrators may have been participants in a rally held earlier that day outside the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry to protest the name deal signed between Athens and Skopje. (via kis.gr)
At the beginning of the year, the Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki was desecrated with “Free Palestine” graffiti. Only days after this desecration, the memorial was again vandalized, this time by Greek nazis with “Golden Dawn” graffiti.
Vandals desecrated the Jewish section of an Athens cemetery on Friday night, destroying nine marbre memorial stones. The headstones appear to have been kicked over and then smashed to pieces.
The President of the Jewish Community of Athens, Minos Moissis, described the scene as “repulsive”.
[…] This is not the first time we see the result of a degrading act at our Cemetery but it is the first time we see such act was organized and planned in part of the Cemetery that is not visible from the neighboring houses and with incredible fury. The view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger.
The Jewish Community of Athens will exercise all the legal means at its disposal, the first steps have already been taken by the police authorities that immediately came to the collection of clues.
But besides the Law, we call upon all the institutions of the State and the City, the Justice, the Religious and Spiritual Authorities of the country and the Civil Society, to condemn unambiguously and without reservation this desecration and to stand with absolutely zero tolerance against such phenomena of violence and intolerance. There is no worse sign of a society’s moral decline than desecration of a Cemetery and disrespect for the dead.
It is not just an act that concerns only our Community and is recorded as one of the most violent and significant anti-Semitic events of recent years in Greece. It is about an act that brutally affects the whole of society, the values and principles of a favored state.
For these reason, we ask everybody to exhaust every effort to never allow such acts against anyone.
(announcement by the Jewish Community of Athens)
The Jewish Community of Athens is organizing a silent protest at the cemetery this Sunday, May 13th, at noon.
Via Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Two sketches by Michalis Kountouris, with strong messages of demonisation of Israel and unacceptable parallelism with the Holocaust, were published in the “Efimerida Syntakton” (EFSYN. – “Editors’ Journal”) on 10th and 11th April 2018. The sketches were commented on with the following article entitled “Bloody Handprints” – published in the issue of the EFSYN of 16.4.18 – by the journalist and General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Victor Is. Eliezer.
The sketches also stirred a reaction from Israel’s Ambassador to Greece, Ms. Irit Ben-Abba (letter to the EFSYN 11/4/2018), and journalist Dimitris Psarras (through his article “We do not Forget the Holocaust” EFSYN 16/4/2018).
- Victor Is. Eliezer: “Bloody Handprints” EFIMERIDA SYNTAKTON 16/4/2018
Yom Hashoah. Holocaust Day, 11th April 2018. The Jews mourn for their 6,000,000 fellow Jews who were unjustly and brutally killed in the gas chambers of the Nazi camps! On the same day, in Greece, the “EFSYN”, known for its merciless struggle against anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, hosted a sketch in which an Israeli soldier leaves the prints of his bloodied hands on the Wailing Wall, next to many other bloody handprints of other people who apparently prayed before him. You know, all the Jews have visited the Wailing Wall, many of us pray and touch the Wall that is what is left of the Temple of Solomon. The bloody handprints, according to the cartoonist, could be the bloody handprints of every Jew who has visited the Wailing Wall! One day earlier, another sketch (by the same cartoonist) appeared in the newspaper, where the Gaza Strip was identified with a prisoner of Nazi concentration camps.
Demonstrators protesting “the imperialist attack on Syria” in Athens. Screenshot via inter.kke.gr
The Greek Communist Party (KKE) organized a rally in central Athens to protest the US-led airstrikes against Syria on Saturday. The protesters chanted anti-U.S., anti-Nato and anti-EU slogans and even set an American flag on fire right in front of the American Embassy.
The Greek Communist Party issued a statement in which it blasted the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government for “implicating” Greece “deeper in this massacre, on the account of the Greek capital, that is claiming its participation in the distribution of the loot and of the market shares.” It also accused the Greek government of cooperating militarily “with states-killers such as Israel.”
Communist Party chief Dimitris Koutsoumbas has accused Israel of engaging in “genocide” against Palestinians.
“Despite the problems facing our people, we must not underestimate the fact that a genocide is taking place in our neighborhood. Innocent children, women, families are being killed,” Koutsoumbas said during a meeting with former Greek President Karolos Papoulias in Athens four years ago.
The ‘burning of the Judas’ in the village of Tolo, on the Peloponnese peninsula (Easter 2018). Screenshot via YouTube.
Announcement by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
During the Easter holidays, various customs take place in our country. One of these is the “burning of the effigy of Judas”, which takes place in some areas of the country. This custom perpetuates stereotyped perceptions against the Jews. It is significant that the custom has almost been eliminated in the rest of Europe.
In the past, we, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, have repeatedly proceeded with representations to competent bodies in order to stop the custom in our country. The fact that the Church of Greece, with its Synodic Circulars of 1891, 1910 and 1918, demanded that “these customs are expressly forbidden” is of particular significance.
We believe that this custom not only offends the Greek Jewish community but also affects every effort towards the understanding and respect of common values that characterise Judaism and Christianity. We hope that everyone will eventually contribute to the abolition of this custom that does not serve the spirit of love and reconciliation which is conveyed during the days of Easter.
Athens, 11 April 2018
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
Credit: The Jewish Community of Athens (athjcom.gr)
Greek Counter Terrorism Police arrested 11 suspected members of violent Nazi group “C18 Hellas” last week, during an operation in greater Athens and two provincial towns.
The suspects are allegedly members of the Greek branch of the extreme right wing group “Combat 18” also known as “C18”, which operates in various countries.
A 35-year-old gas station employee from Ioannina, northwestern Greece, is believed to have led the group, ekathimerini.com reports.
“C18” is responsible for bombing attacks against anarchist and migrant related targets and has ties with another violent Greek Nazi group named “Unaligned Meander Nationalists” (Greek abbreviation: AME). Many Greek news outlets failed to mention that both organisations have signed numerous desecrations of Jewish Monuments and Cemeteries in Greece:
- Oktober 2015: The entrance of the Jewish Cemetery in Nikaia (an area outside Athens) was vandalized with threatening graffiti featuring nazi symbols. “C18 Hellas” posted pictures of the vandalism online, claiming responsibility for the action.
- December 2014: AME members scrawled swastikas and threats on the wall of the Jewish Cemetery of Larissa, posting photos of their action online.
- Oktober 2014: AME left its signature on the Athens Holocaust Monument.
- Oktober 2012: Desecration of the Holocaust Memorial of the Jews of Rhodes. The monument is located in the Old City and the perpetrators painted with paint all six sides, while they painted the swastika, adding the initials AME.
The case (that led to the Greek police counter-terrorism unit acts) was filed after complaints by Greek Helsinki Monitor, based also on articles by XYZ Contagion blog.
For more information: Greece: Violent fringe Nazi groups dismantled, by Panayote Dimitras (14/3/2018, hopenothate.org.uk).