Vandals have destroyed nine marble Jewish tombstones in the 3. Athens Cemetery in Nikaia on Friday night. The gravestones appear to have been kicked over and then smashed to pieces. A cemetery guard saw the destroyed graves and informed the police.
“Antisemitism showed one of its faces,” general secretary for Religions, Giorgos Kalanztis said asking “who and why is being disturbed by the dead? What kind of people are those who hate the dead?”
According to a statement issued Saturday night by the Jewish Community of Athens and posted to the Facebook page of the president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Minos Moissis, “the scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great.” Moissis said he was “very angry.”
“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 statement said. “The view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger.”
The community group said it would take all available legal steps and had contacted the police who have launched an investigation.
The group’s statement also called upon all governmental, municipal and religious institutions as well as civil society to unambiguously condemn the 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,” the statement read. “It is not just an act that concerns only our community and is recorded as one of the most violent and significant antisemitic 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.”
Holocaust memorials have also been targeted by vandals in Greece in the recent past.
The Jewish section of the same cemetery was vandalized also in 2015.
To be fair to Greeks, anti-Semitism elevates ONLY to the level of verbiage and vandalism in Greece, whereas in other countries, anti-Semitism includes violence. I’m a firm believer that although many Greek people may support Palestine over Israel officially, the overwhelming majority in Greece would NEVER harm another person because of their religion, even if they disagreed with it. But, vandalism or hatred against Jewish and other religions should stop world-wide. Just let people be free to worship as they want, or NOT if they choose.