(December 17, 2018 / JNS) A Holocaust memorial in Greece was vandalized with black spray-painted swastikas on Friday in what has become multiple such incidents this year.
The perpetrators have yet to be identified.
This development occurred with the latest anti-government demonstrations on Friday against the police in Thessaloniki, which used tear gas and a water cannon to disband protesters.
The memorial was done by the famed sculptor Nandor Glid and was finished in 1997 after his death by his son, Daniel. It was the elder Gild’s last piece.
The Israeli embassy in Athens and the World Jewish Congress condemned the defacing.
“Turning Jews into scapegoats for events that they have absolutely no responsibility for is the absolute expression of anti-Semitism. Such incidents by extreme nationalist circles must be condemned by all and the aggressors must finally be led before justice,” said the embassy.
“It is alarming and disgraceful that a monument honoring the memory of Jews who perished in the Holocaust should become a routine target for those espousing vile expressions of hatred and anti-Semitism,” said WJC CEO and executive vice President Robert Singer.
He said the WJC was urging “the authorities in Europe to make good on their Dec. 6 declaration to fight anti-Semitism and develop a common security approach to protect Jewish communities, and to take every possible measure to curb this wave of incitement.”
Thessaloniki maintained a vibrant Jewish community for centuries until World War II, when most of the city’s 60,000 Jews perished in the Holocaust. Some 1,200 Jews now live in the city.
“We are extremely concerned by the steady rise of anti-Semitic vandalism facing the Jewish community in Greece and elsewhere in Europe,” continued Singer. “This desecration, as well as the vandalization of cemeteries in Poland and in France in the past week alone, should ring alarm bells for anyone who believes that these incidents are isolated and passing.”
In January, the sculpture was also vandalized with the words “Golden Dawn,” a name of a far-right Greek political party, smeared on its base.