Rhodes, Greece - Anti-Semitic Attack Mars Holocaust Monument
Rhodes, Greece - Just days after a violent attack against the Jewish cemetery of Salonika, in northern Greece, the Holocaust Monument on the island of Rhodes was desecrated, marking a dangerous increase of anti-Semitism in Greece, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) reported.
The unidentified vandals used a heavy object in their attempt to smash the Magen David on one façade of the granite-made Rhodes monument, which was damaged and cracked.
In letters to the Justice Minister, the Board expressed the outrage and the concern of the Greek Jewry about the increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country, urging all competent authorities and democratic citizens to react firmly against the phenomenon.
The letter called for the arrest of the perpetrators and for more intense security measures around Jewish sites all over Greece.
“The Greek Jewry was not heard when it alerted the authorities to the consequences of the acquittal of Kostas Plevris, a neo-Nazi lawyer, who in his book glorifying Hitler clearly incites to acts of violence against the Greek Jews,” the Board said.
Last week, police arrested three Greek neo-Nazi activists on suspicion of writing Nazi slogans on the walls of a Jewish cemetery in Greece’s second city Thessaloniki (Salonika), (as was reported here on Vos Iz Neias).
The trio, including a 17-year-old minor, are also suspected of having set gasoline alight on tombs in the cemetery.
The Greek government unequivocally condemned these incidents.
“Such instances of racism and hate have no place whatever in Greek society, which stands opposed to such acts of violence and chauvinism. The responsible authorities will do whatever is necessary so that the perpetrators of these acts are led, as soon as possible, before justice,” a spokesman said.
In January, four people—including an American of Greek origin and two Britons—were charged with an arson attack on the historic Etz Chaim synagogue on the Greek island of Crete.
“Anti-Semitic incidents are definitely on the rise and our fear is they will increase with the economic crisis afflicting Greece,” said David Saltiel, who heads the Central Board, which represents the country’s 6,000-strong community.
Greece lost 80% of its Jewish population during the Nazi period. Around 65,000 men, women and children were sent to Auschwitz between 1941 and 1944.
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