A Jewish cemetery near Athens that was desecrated with neo-Nazi symbols two years ago has once again be vandalised.
A press release by the Jewish Community of Athens said: “On Saturday, the most holy day in Judaism, it is imperative and we are accustomed to abstain from everyday activities and, of course, from announcements. In the context of this almost absolute rigor of observance of the Sabbath holiday, there are exceptions that have to do with dealing with the threat of a life or a great pain.
“Such is the pain that caused us, today, on Saturday, May 5, 2018, the revelation of a new wave of vandalism in the Jewish Cemetery of Athens. Unknown vandals entered our Cemetery during the night and destroyed nine commemorative marble struts kicking them with fury, leaving them to peel off their bases and crushing them on the ground. These marble slabs are used to mark the sectors of our Cemetery and are dedicated to the memory of the dead by their families.
“The scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great. 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 organised 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.”
In October 2015, parties who have not been identified wrote in black paint on the entrance to the same cemetery south of the Greek capital the number 18 – a neo-Nazi code for Adolf Hitler — and the word “raus” – German for “out.” In Nazi Germany, the phrase Juden raus, “Jews out,” was a common slogan among anti-Semites. They also painted a swastika on the cemetery’s gate.
Greece’s Golden Dawn party is widely considered one of Europe’s most virulent neo-Nazi movements with representation in a national parliament. It holds 16 seats out of 300 in the Greek parliament.
The Nikaia Jewish cemetery is an active and relatively new place of burial. The community has been burying its dead there since shortly after World War II, when city authorities allocated the land to the community for this purpose.