Greek newspaper criticized for running cartoon that trivializes the Holocaust (once again)

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) denounced in a statement another attempt to diminish and exploit the Holocaust: 

The new cartoon published in “Efimerida ton Syntakton” on January 16, 2021, combines the Nazi sign with the cartoonist’s confection “Studies make you free”, thus equalizing the gate of Auschwitz with the gates of the universities and the prisoners in this horrific extermination camp with the students. It is a hideous and vulgar instrumentalization of the Holocaust for political purposes.

In any case, the newspaper’s expressed respect towards the victims of the Holocaust and its firm position against antisemitism cannot be used as excuses for the publication of such cartoons that insult both the memory of the victims and the survivors alike, by trivializing the place of their martyrdom.


Background: New higher education bill targets lawlessness, standards (Apostolos Lakasas)

The same cartoonist, Kostas Grigoriadis, published in “Efimerida ton Syntakton” in July 2018 a similar cartoon depicting the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp with the message “the 12-hour [work day] sets you free,” to protest plans for a 12-hour work day in Austria. (more information)

Ένα σημαντικό Εγχειρίδιο Πρακτικής Εφαρμογής του Λειτουργικού Ορισμού του Αντισημιτισμού σύμφωνα με την IHRA

[Το ακόλουθο κείμενο αποτελεί μετάφραση μέρους του σημερινού δελτίου τύπου της γερμανικής ομοσπονδιακής ένωσης φορέων Recherche- und Informationsstelle Antisemitismus (RIAS) με έδρα το Βερολίνο. Μετάφραση από τα γερμανικά: Δημήτρης Κράββαρης]

Η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή και η Διεθνής Συμμαχία για τη Μνήμη του Ολοκαυτώματος (IHRA) δίνουν στη δημοσιότητα το Εγχειρίδιο Πρακτικής Εφαρμογής του Λειτουργικού Ορισμού του Αντισημιτισμού σύμφωνα με την IHRA

Βερολίνο (08/01/2021) – Τα τρία τέταρτα των κρατών μελών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης έχουν ήδη υιοθετήσει τον λειτουργικό ορισμό της Διεθνούς Συμμαχίας για τη Μνήμη του Ολοκαυτώματος (IHRA). Σε ποιους τομείς εντός της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου ο λειτουργικός ορισμός μπορεί να χρησιμοποιηθεί από κρατικούς και κοινωνικούς φορείς, καταδεικνύει το Εγχειρίδιο Πρακτικής Εφαρμογής του Λειτουργικού Ορισμού του Αντισημιτισμού σύμφωνα με την IHRA που παρουσιάζεται σήμερα.

Τον Μάιο του 2016, ένας πολιτικός του Κοινοβουλίου της Καταλωνίας χαρακτήρισε τον Πρόεδρο της Εβραϊκής Κοινότητας της Βαρκελώνης ξένο πράκτορα ενός «σιωνιστικού λόμπι», το οποίο καθορίζει την ατζέντα του Κοινοβουλίου. Τον Δεκέμβριο του 2017 και αφότου η αμερικανική κυβέρνηση αποφάσισε να μεταφέρει την αμερικανική πρεσβεία από το Τελ Αβίβ στην Ιερουσαλήμ, πλήθος ατόμων πραγματοποίησε εμπρηστική επίθεση σε συναγωγή του Γκέτεμποργκ. Το Νοέμβριο του 2020, ο διευθυντής ενός κρατικού μουσείου της Ουγγαρίας αποκάλεσε τον επιζήσαντα του Ολοκαυτώματος, Τζωρτζ Σόρος, «φιλελεύθερο Φύρερ» που μετατρέπει την Ευρώπη σε «θάλαμο αερίων» και ποδηγετεί τους ανθρώπους, σαν να πρόκειται για πιόνια σε μια «παγκόσμια σκακιέρα».

Τα παραπάνω παραδείγματα από το Εγχειρίδιο καθιστούν σαφές πως ο αντισημιτισμός επηρεάζει καθοριστικά την καθημερινότητα των Εβραίων της Ευρώπης και πως εμφανίζεται σε όλο το πολιτικό φάσμα. Ο ορισμός της IHRA συμβάλλει στη διάκριση εκδηλώσεων αντισημιτισμού στα πιο διαφορετικά συμφραζόμενα: στην καθημερινή ζωή, στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, στο σχολείο, στον χώρο εργασίας, στα μέσα ενημέρωσης και στον χώρο της θρησκείας.

Το Εγχειρίδιο εξηγεί και διασαφηνίζει όλες τις πτυχές του λειτουργικού ορισμού του αντισημιτισμού της IHRA με τη βοήθεια 22 περιστατικών αντισημιτισμού και αξιόποινων αντισημιτικών πράξεων σε ολόκληρη την Ευρώπη. Βασιζόμενο σε 71 σύνολα δεδομένων (data sets) από 27 κράτη μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, το εγχειρίδιο παρουσιάζει επιπρόσθετα 35 παραδείγματα ορθών πρακτικών για την πρακτική εφαρμογή του ορισμού στους τομείς της ποινικής δίωξης, της δικαιοσύνης, της εκπαίδευσης, της κρατικής χρηματοδότησης, του αθλητισμού και της κοινωνίας των πολιτών. Για τον σκοπό αυτό, οι συγγραφείς του εγχειριδίου απευθύνθηκαν σε εβραϊκές κοινότητες, εκπροσώπους της κοινωνίας των πολιτών, μέλη της ομάδας εργασίας της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής για τον αντισημιτισμό καθώς και σε ειδικούς της IHRA και τoυ Οργανισμού Θεμελιωδών Δικαιωμάτων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Το παρόν εγχειρίδιο εκπονήθηκε από την ομοσπονδιακή ένωση RIAS ύστερα από σχετική ανάθεση της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής, η οποία εξέδωσε το εγχειρίδιο από κοινού με την Διεθνή Συμμαχία για τη Μνήμη του Ολοκαυτώματος και με την υποστήριξη της Γερμανικής Προεδρίας του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου. To Εγχειρίδιο είναι προσβάσιμο στην ιστοσελίδα της ομοσπονδιακής ένωσης RIAS (πατήστε εδώ) καθώς και στην ιστοσελίδα της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης (πατήστε εδώ). […]

Η ομοσπονδιακή ένωση φορέων RIAS ιδρύθηκε τον Οκτώβριο του 2018. Στόχος της είναι η ενιαία καταγραφή και τεκμηρίωση περιστατικών αντισημιτισμού σε όλη τη Γερμανία και η εκπροσώπηση των συμφερόντων φορέων τοπικών κέντρων καταγραφής περιστατικών αντισημιτισμού απέναντι στην κοινωνία, την πολιτική και τη διοίκηση.

Political spot with reference to Moses condemned by Central Jewish Council of Greece

Source: KIS

Screenshot via

Opposition party of the Left “SYRIZA” uploaded a political video spot, entitled “How much does Moses Cost?” on the party’s website, facebook and You Tube channel, on June 19, 2020. The video, was produced in an attempt to criticize the Government’s funding of the mass media during the pandemic.

The reference to Moses in the video was strongly condemned by the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA), the frm. President of the Athens Jewish Community Minos Moissis, the Secretary General of KIS Victor Eliezer and many prominent journalists. KIS issued the following announcement (June 22, 2020):

«When we watched SYRIZA’s political spot “How much does Moses cost?” we wondered how was it possible for a party with a determining contribution to the fight against antisemitism to reproduce antisemitic stereotypes in order to serve its opposition policy, linking Moses with the money falling down from the sky as the “manna from heaven”.

Three days after its launch the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its regret over the fact that -in spite of the massive reactions- SYRIZA did not withdraw this spot, with its only reaction being that of characterizing it as “satiric”.


Read the full statement here.

Read the statement in Greek here.

Νέα βεβήλωση του Μνημείου Ολοκαυτώματος στα Τρίκαλα

Δεύτερο συμβάν βανδαλισμού εβραϊκού χώρου σε διάστημα μόλις δύο ημερών στην πόλη των Τρικάλων.

“Μετά τον βανδαλισμό της Συναγωγής, στις 2.1.2020 έγινε ο βανδαλισμός του Μνημείου Ολοκαυτώματος των Τρικάλων, το οποίο υπέστη σοβαρότατες ζημιές αφού καταστράφηκε  τμήμα της περίφραξης και αποκόλλησαν το Άστρο του Δαυίδ. Υπενθυμίζεται ότι το Μνημείο είχε βεβηλωθεί με αντισημιτικά συνθήματα τρείς φορές τον Φεβρουάριο και τον Μάρτιο του 2019″, επισημαίνει μεταξύ άλλων σε ανακοίνωσή του το Κεντρικό Ισραηλιτικό Συμβούλιο.

Πηγή: Ισραηλιτική Κοινότητα Τρικάλων, via Παναγιώτης Δημητράς

Ο Δήμος Τρικκαίων καταδίκασε σήμερα τη διπλή αντισημιτική επίθεση, καλώντας τους κατοίκους “να διαφυλάξουν την ιστορία της πόλης, τον σεβασμό στον συνάνθρωπο, όπως έμπρακτα έχουν εκφραστεί πολλές φορές στο διάβα των αιώνων.”

Εντύπωση προκαλεί η σιωπή κυβέρνησης και αντιπολίτευσης.

Μηνυτήρια αναφορά για την αντισημιτική βεβήλωση της Συναγωγής των Τρικάλων στις 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2019, με το σύνθημα “Εβραϊκά φίδια έξω” έχει κατατεθεί από το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι.

Update: Το Ε.Π.Σ.Ε. κατέθεσε μηνυτήρια αναφορά και για τον αντισημιτικό βανδαλισμό του Μνημείου Ολοκαυτώματος των Τρικάλων.

Greek journalist trivializes Holocaust in a tweet criticizing Opposition leader

Journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, editor of “Documento” newspaper, trivialized Holocaust in a tweet criticizing Opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his statement in favour of the ‘7day work week’. Vaxevanis in his tweet of May 12, 2019 used the inscription over the gate of Auschwitz “Arbeit Macht Frei” to comment on K. Mitsotakis.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) stressed in an announcement the inappropriate use of the symbols of the Holocaust:

The use of this inscription within a political controversy and a journalistic comment is unacceptable because it downgrades, minimizes and trivializes a symbol of horror and Nazi barbarism. In Auschwitz every trace of humanity was lost and inhumanity and harrowing death prevailed. Millions of people were killed there because they were either Jews or “different”.

Read full statement here.

Kostas Vaxevanis responded here.

Holocaust trivialization is a recurrent phenomenon in Greek politics. For example, a cartoon published in the leftist newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton in July 2018 depicted the entrance to the Auschwitz death camp with the message “the 12-hour [work day] sets you free,” to protest plans for a 12-hour work day in Austria (more information).

In 2018, the Racist Violence Recording Network recorded 10 anti-Semitic attacks in Greece

LOGO-FINAL_GRK-02-300x134Athens, 19.4.2019- The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) presented yesterday their annual report, which analyses findings of racist violence and hate crime across Greece in 2018, recorded by the 46 organizations participating in the Network.

From January to December 2018, the RVRN documented, through interviews with victims, 117 incidents of racist violence, with more than 130 victims. In 74 incidents the victims were migrants or refugees on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, colour, associations of third country nationals, human rights defenders due to their connection with refugees and migrants, as well as a memorial to the victims of shipwrecks. In six (6) incidents, Greek citizens were targeted due to their colour, foreign or ethnic origin. In nine (9) incidents, the targets were Jewish sacred or symbolic places and the Jewish community and in one (1) incident the target was a Greek citizen due to educational activity against anti-Semitism or perceived religion. In 27 incidents the targets were LGBTQI+ persons, including five (5) refugees, asylum-seekers and EU citizens. In 59 incidents more than one victim was targeted, whereas in 63 incidents the assault was committed by a group of at least two people.

For more information click here.

Excerpt from the report (p. 19):

In 2018, the RVRN recorded 9 anti-Semitic attacks. In particular, there were 6 incidents of desecration of Holocaust memorials in Athens and Thessaloniki, 2 incidents of desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Nikaia and Trikala as well as 1 incident of vandalism of the synagogue in Volos. In these incidents the perpetrators drew Nazi symbols or words and slogans referring to the Holocaust, threatening the Jewish community as a whole. Additionally, there was an incident against a teacher, who is being harassed severely due to his educational activity against anti-Semitism. According to the Fundamental Rights Agency—FRA, the challenge regarding the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide, has the following paradox: According to the most recent Eurobarometer results, while anti-Semitic behaviour is so common that it is considered a normal situation, only 36% of those who answered believe that anti-Semitism has increased. In addition, only 4 out of 10 Europeans believe that children in schools learn enough about the Holocaust*. The RVRN is aware of the many faces of anti-Semitism in Greece, which, as in other countries, is not limited to desecrations and vandalisms by groups, but it also penetrates large parts of the population and is reflected in the everyday talks. For the above, the RVRN participated, with great interest, to a meeting held by the General Secretariat of Transparency and Human Rights.

* FRA, Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism – Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU (2018). See the relevant Eurobarometer survey:

The full report is available here.

Vandals desecrate the Jewish Cemetery of Trikala


The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the dismay of the entire Greek Jewry and strongly condemns the vandal attack that once more occurred against the Jewish cemetery of Trikala.

More specifically, followers of racism and antisemitism vandalized and destroyed eight tombs and tombstones -among which the two graves of the parents of the President of the Jewish Community of Trikala.

Following the lawsuit against persons unknown, pressed by the Jewish Community of Trikala, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece calls upon law enforcement authorities to take all necessary measures for the arrest of the perpetrators and the protection of the city’s Jewish cemetery, which -apart from its sacred nature- reflects the historic course of the Jewish presence in Trikala.

We believe that the municipal authorities together with the society of Trikala will not allow the followers of hatred to harm the harmonious coexistence of all the citizens of Trikala, regardless of skin color, race or religion.

Athens, October 12, 2018

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

Monument in memory of the old Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki vandalized with paint

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.

Vandalism Memorial Thessaloniki July 2018


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.

Greek Communist Party calls Israel a “state-killer”

KKE against US-lead strikes 2018

Demonstrators protesting “the imperialist attack on Syria” in Athens. Screenshot via

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.



Greek Jews call for the abolition of the “burning of the Judas”

Burning of Judas Tolo 2018

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