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.
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
The Jewish Museum of Greece would like to invite you to the opening of its periodic exhibition “Through the lens of Nissim Levis: a family, an era”, which will take place on Monday, January 22, 2018.
The exhibition will be realised within the framework of a three-year programme of the JMG with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens, which continuously, consistently and successfully supports the Museum’s work.
The exhibition focuses on Dr. Nissim Levis’ artistic photography, which covers the time period from the last years of the Ottoman rule (1898 – 1913) and the following years of upheaval and change, until 1930. It allows the visitor a glimpse into the life of a prominent family, within a community belonging to the beautiful northern Greek town of Ioannina, just moments before the War ravaged it and changed the fabric of its society forever, through the murder of the great majority of its Jewish inhabitants.
More information about Nissim Levis (in Greek)
[Greek version follows]
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece condemns unequivocally the malicious and vulgar insults, containing fierce racist and anti-Semitic references, launched against the President of the Athens Jewish Community Mr. Minos Moissis by the web edition of the newspaper MAKELEIO.
In an article published on the news site enikos.gr (May 10, 2017), entitled “In bloody ink”, journalist and cartoonist Stathis (Stavropoulos) denounces attempts to incriminate criticism against Israel that present it as anti-Semitism in order to annul such political criticism. The article is accompanied by a cartoon which pictures free opinion killed by Israel. The article and cartoon were Stathis response to the publication of a survey on Anti-Semitism in Greece which shows high rates of anti-Semitic feelings in Greece.
In a statement, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expressed the outrage of the Greek Jewry at Stathis’ antisemitic libel:
[…] And it is obvious for us that even the sharpest criticism against the policy of the Israeli Government has nothing to do with Anti-Semitism. However, when -according to a recent research, 65% of the Greeks agree with the opinion that “Israel treats the Palestinian exactly as the Nazis treated the Jews”, then all –politicians and journalists alike- need to take responsibility for reproducing the industrialized propaganda of delegitimization of the State of Israel.
“Traditional Anti-Semitism” defies and demonizes the personal right of every Jew to live as an equal member of the society. “New anti-Semitism” defies and demonizes the collective right of the Jews to live as an equal nation in the land of Israel, among the society of Nations.
Stathis’ writing and the accompanying cartoon qualify him as a genuine representative of both traditional and new anti-Semitism. It is a pity!
Ariel Sharon dressed like a Nazi with a swastika on his arm stating “Fascism is not only the logic of killing, but primarily killing logic” appears on the cover of Stathis Stavropoulos’ collection of cartoons “The anti-fascist, anti-racist [cartoons]” (Athens 2016).
A Muslim religious figure of Xanthi, Imam Erkan Azizoglou (of the village of Glafki) posted on his facebook account (December 4, 2016) hate anti-Semitic comments. The Imam wished for the fires that burst out in Israel not to be put out! In response to the reaction caused by his statement and the comments posted on line (asking not to make parallels between the State and the people who live in it) the Imam debated that “All the Israelis are the same. They are all as a monster that is fed on blood”. With these hate comments, totally inappropriate for a religious leader, Erkan Azizoglou threatens peaceful coexistence among Greek citizens regardless of religion in this sensitive region. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece is always in alert to fight against anti-Semitic rhetoric expressed by any part.
Athens December 19, 2016
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
– The apology of Imam Azizoglou on the website of the Racist Crimes Watch (Jan. 7.2017): On January 7, 2017, Imam Azizoglou posted an apology on the website of the Racist Crimes Watch (of the NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor). The Imam notified that he erased his comments from his facebook account and apologized to those offended. The comment also reads: “The legitimate condemnation of the Israeli policy towards the Palestinians should not include elements that offend the majority of the population of the country based on its ethnic and religious identity”.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) expressed today in a statement the outrage and the repudiation of the Greek Jewry at the recent photo posted on Facebook and on Twitter by Dimitris Kammenos, MP of the Independent Greeks party (no relation to party leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos), the coalition partner of Syriza. In the photo posted, the nazi slogan “Arbeit macht frei”, which was incorporated in the front gate of Auschwitz, has been replaced with the “We stay in Europe” moto of a Pro-Europe rally that has been recently held in Athens.
Earlier this month, Dimitris Kammenos equated once again the Euro currency with Auschwitz.
The leader and other members of the right-wing Independent Greeks party have been accused of being antisemitic (see our previous posts on this issue).
The full statement of KIS (source: kis.gr):
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the outrage and the repudiation of the Greek Jewry at the shameful photo posted on facebook
by MP Dimitris Kammenos
(of the Independent Greeks – ANELL party). The post trivializes in the most hideous way the sign over the gate of Auschwitz. In the photo posted the “We stay in Europe” moto has replaced the world known sign which “welcomed” 1.500.000 Jews who were tortured and exterminated by the Nazis in the gas chambers.
We call upon the President of the Greek Parliament and the representatives of all democratic parties to condemn the malevolent trivialization of the Holocaust of the 6 million Jews and all the victims of this barbarity, a trivialization that at the same time downplays the importance of the struggle against Fascism and Nazism in our country. We must not stay indifferent to such phenomena because if our society allows the distortion of the historical truth and memory of the Holocaust, it would have been as if we reopened the gate of Auschwitz to new crimes against humanity.
Athens, 24 June 2015
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
Independent Greeks distanced itself on Wednesday from Dimitris Kammenos. Independent Greeks spokeswoman Marina Chrysoveloni
said that the lawmakers’ post was an “utterly personal action,” news site ekathimerini.com
The altered photo “was posted earlier this week on Greek blogs, including one that also promotes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jewish bankers taking over the world’s financial system. After he withdrew the image, Mr. Kammenos replaced it with an update in which he apologized for “a misunderstanding” but doubled down on his likening of the Greek financial crisis to the suffering of the Jews at German hands. “Maybe the comparison was unfortunate,” he wrote, “but my country is experiencing an economic holocaust.” (Source: The New York Times)
“Greek leaders should not let such despicable social media posts by a member of parliament go without comment,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and a Holocaust survivor. “With the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in parliament and a vast majority of citizens who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, responsible Greek leaders need to take a stand against hate speech, especially when uttered by elected officials.” (Via adl.org)