Members of the “Vardaris Neighborhood Team” and other people gathered yesterday to remove far-right and nazi symbols that had been sprayed onto the street mural commemorating the deportation of the Jews of Thessaloniki. (see photos below)
The mural was painted by street artist Same84 on Michael Kalou Street on a wall of the eastern fence of the New Railway Station – a place where the Rezi Vardar neighborhood was located. Through this action, the “Vardaris Neighborhood Team” seeks to pay tribute to one of the most important and once numerous communities of Thessaloniki, the Jewish community, for the tragic consequences suffered by its population during World War II. The mural is a symbolic composition of places, people and events, inspired by photographic material of that period and includes seven consecutive images. (More information about the project.)
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 anti-Semitic rhetoric and the recorded attacks against Jewish monuments or synagogues are disproportionately high. (Antisemitism in Greece today: Executive Summary, 2017)
October 5: “Neo-Nazis vandalized the external surrounding walls of the Jewish cemetery of Athens with the same slogans the Nazis used 80 years ago in order to deport millions of Jews from their homes and exterminate six million in the gas chambers, amongst whom 60.000 Greek Jews.” (from the KIS announcement for the antisemitic graffiti at the Jewish Cemetery of Athens)
October 10 & 11: The words “Death to Israel” were discovered at the Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki, while four tombs were vandalized in the Jewish cemetery on Rhodes island in the southeast. The acts of vandalism come after the leader of Greece’s neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and his inner circle were handed 13-year prison sentences on Wednesday. (AFP)
October 16: A graffiti saying “With Jews you lose” was sprayed onto a monument dedicated to the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki in northern Greece perished during the Holocaust. (AFP)
November 10 & 12: The Greek newspaper “Makeleio” whose publisher was convicted recently of anti-Semitic defamation warned its readers that Pfizer’s Jewish CEO will “stick the needle” into them while calling the pharmaceutical company’s prospective COVID-19 vaccine “poison.” A further article repeated the accusations against Bourla, with a screeching headline claiming that the “Greek Jew” had “trousered millions” on behalf of the “Israeli Council.” (JTA / The Algemeiner)
December 3: “A man wearing a cassock and holding an icon, sprayed a Christogram cross with the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” on the Holocaust monument of Larissa. He did the same on the outer wall of the Synagogue which is currently being restored. The incident was recorded on cctv street cameras which were examined after the President of the Jewish Community of Larissa informed the police and filed a lawsuit. The man was arrested the following day in the nearby area of Tempi. He was charged with damaging property and violating antiracism law.” [reported by the KIS]
December 28: The Holocaust Monument in the city of Drama, northern Greece, was vandalized. The perpetrators sprayed a black cross and broke the base of marble at the base of the monument. A similar graffiti appeared on the door of the old tobacco warehouse where, on March 3, 1943, the Bulgarian occupying forces arrested and imprisoned Greek Jews from Drama, before deportating them to Nazi extermination camps. [ekathimerini]
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)
Bronze memory stones which commemorate victims of the Holocaust who worked at the port of Thessaloniki during World War II were vandalized by unknown perpetrators. Giorgos Antoniou posted photos of the vandalism online.
The Holocaust Memorial at the city of Trikala, in northwestern Thessaly, was found desecrated with the inscription «ΓΚΟΪΜ» (“goyim”), just four months after its unveiling. Photos from the Greek outlet trikalanews.gr captured the vandalism.
The monument designed by the municipality, with input from Trikala’s Jewish community, is in the shape of a tear flanked by railway tracks. In the center is an olive tree and to the side is a column with an inscription in three languages: Greek, Hebrew, and English. [via tabletmag.com]
Just weeks before the unveiling ceremony in 2018, a vandal attack targeted the Jewish cemetery of Trikala. Unknown antisemites vandalized and destroyed eight tombs and tombstones – among which the two graves of the parents of the President of the Jewish Community of Trikala.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.