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.
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)
Via Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece(KIS):
Daily “Makeleio”, known for frequently publishing incendiary anti-Semitic articles, on November 10, 2020, circulated with yet another anti-Semitic front-page title related to the announcement made by Albert Bourla, the CEO of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company, on the upcoming vaccine for covid. The front-page (as well as the teaser of the on-line Makeleio.gr) is illustrated with the photo of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele next to the photo of Dr. Bourla whose Jewish faith is used in the title to disseminate stereotypical propaganda, while in the surtitle of the front-page the term “poison” is used for the vaccine.
The Greek Jewry’s outrage was expressed with the following announcement of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), which was followed by the immediate reaction of the General Secretary for Religious Affairs, Mr George Kalantzis, who issued the statement below: [Read both statements in English here]
Greek Helsinki Monitor has filed a criminal complaint to the Prosecutor concerning the antisemitic headline in Makeleio newspaper.
A Greek court in October 2020 convicted the Makeleio newspaper over an antisemitic article targeting Minos Moissis, the former President of the Jewish Community of Athens.
A hideous graffiti, that last Friday, October 16, 2020, defaced the Holocaust Monument of Thessaloniki, was added to the chain of desecrations, threats and vandalism that occurred last week in Greece: “Juden raus” graffiti at the Jewish Cemetery of Athens, “Death to Israel” at the Jewish Cemetery of Thessaloniki, four vandalized tombs at the Jewish Cemetery of Rhodes, and this most recent “With Jews you lose” graffiti, spray-painted on the façade of the Monument dedicated to the 50.000 Jews of Thessaloniki who were exterminated during the Holocaust.
Via Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS)
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”.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
Metropolitan of Piraeus Seraphim (source: wikipedia)
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece reports:
The Metropolitan Bishop of Piraeus Seraphim, repeated his fierce anti-Semitic rhetoric in his announcement of April 28, uploaded on the official website of the Archdiocese of Piraeus. This reaction was triggered after the Holy Synod overturned its initial decision to appoint Seraphim as the Greek Orthodox Church’s representative to the ceremony lighting the Holy Light of Easter (taking place every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem during the Great Saturday). In Seraphim’s place, another Metropolitan, Athinagoras of Ilion, represented the Church in the ceremony.
As a response, in his long anti-Semitic libel announcement, Metropolitan Seraphim claimed that he was replaced because Israel declared him as persona non grata and accused Israel of interfering with the Church’s issues. He also specified that his views are not anti-Semitic but anti-Zionist and that Orthodox Christians stand against Zionism and especially against the wing of Zionism that seeks world domination. Seraphim also quoted the Old Testament and the New Testament, which he interprets through his anti-Semitic and Jew-Hating views, and accused all the other Christian doctrines of being in favor of Jews. He also quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and referred to masonry (and other international organizations) as the arms used by Zionism to secure infiltration and state manipulation.