ATHENS – Greece’s Foreign Ministry denounced the vandalizing of a Holocaust Monument and the wall of a synagogue in the central city of Larissa – the latest in a string of such attacks – calling it “heinous,” even as they continue.
“This abhorrent act offends the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and is not in line with Greek culture and the values of Greek society,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Such actions remind us of the need to be vigilant in defending our moral values against racism, hatred and bigotry.”
The Jewish Community of Larissa said the incident took place Dec. 3, when a middle-aged man wearing a cassock and holding an icon, sprayed a Christogram with the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” on the monument.
He did the same on the outer wall of the Synagogue which is currently being restored but there were no reports on whether he was detained although the police informed police and filed a suit, no identity given for the attacker.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE) condemned the vandalism, saying that it “exudes religious fanaticism and intolerance.”
In March, 2019 , a monument erected in the city of Trikala in memory of 50 Jews deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust of WWII was also desecrated.
The local Jewish community discovered the vandalism and complained to the police, which launched an investigation with no report anyone was ever caught.
Trikala is in northwestern Thessaly about 15 miles from Kalambaka, home of the famed monasteries on the cliffs of Meteora. During the Holocaust, 450 Jews from Trikala managed to escape and fled to isolated villages in the mountains and Turkey, also getting to Israel.
In October, 2018 the city's Jewish cemetery was also desecrated by vandals in an act of antisemitism. Eight tombs were destroyed, two of which belonged to the parents of the city’s Jewish community President, the Jerusalem Post said.
Earlier in 2019, a Jewish school in Athens was spray-painted with anti-Semitic slurs, while the monument commemorating the Jews of Thessaloniki, located at the University of Aristotle, was desecrated in January.
In November 2019, three months after taking office, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that with Greece battling a bad reputation for discrimination against the Jewish population and groups, Greece would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which hasn't helped prevent vandalism in the country.