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.
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.
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).
The Komotini Holocaust memorial (northeastern Greece) has been vandalized three times in a span of four months’ time, Deputy Mayor Ioannis Mourtidis recently admitted on Facebook.
The Holocaust memorial was defaced for the fourth time on 5th of January 2018 or before, as unknown vandals threw red color on top the monument (see photo below).
The Municipality of Komotini erected the Holocaust memorial in the municipal park of Agia Paraskevi in 2004.
Only days after the desecration with “Free Palestine” graffiti, the Thessaloniki Holocaust memorial was vandalized by Greek nazis with “Golden Dawn” graffiti (see photo of the new vandalism below).
Tens of thousands of Greeks protested today in Thessaloniki the use of the name “Macedonia” in a solution to a dispute between Greece and Republic of Macedonia.
The rally drew around 90,000 people, according to police estimates. It was attended by politicians, members of Greek diaspora groups and some hard-line clerics. MPs of the extreme-right Golden Dawn also joined the protest. (via)
Earlier today, Greek news outlet thestival.gr detected antisemitic leaflets at the White Tower square targeting the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, and calling him “a slave of the Jews”.
Via Minos Moissis & CFCA
The Holocaust Memorial in Athens, close to the Synagogue, was vandalized on Saturday.
The inscription in Elie Wiesel’s words at the Holocaust Memorial was stripped by strangers, disappeared in two of its three tracks with the meaningful text in Greek and French.
The Jewish community of Athens made a public appeal (see above) if someone saw something and has filed a complaint at the police station.
Holocaust survivor and famous author Elie Wiesel wrote those lines especially for the Athens memorial, they are engraved on a plaque at the entrance of the park in 3 languages:
Pause awhile as you pass by, close your eyes and remember.
Remember the time when here,
or near here, men, women and children- our own fellow creatures- congregated in peace and trust,
only to be arrested, humiliated, deported and murdered in the
Camps that shall forever shame our Civilization.
Because they were Jewish, six million people were denied the right to be free, happy, to hope, to smile, to pray, and finally, the right to live.
Remember them, their anguish and their death. Do not recoil at such horror; do not descend into despair at man’s inhumanity to man.
For by remembering we honour their deaths, and we save them from dying again, in oblivion.