The Greek Foreign Ministry condemned antisemitic graffiti found on a synagogue and Holocaust memorial in Larissa in a statement, describing the act as “abhorrent” and “heinous.”
According to a press release by the Jewish Community of Larissa, a middle-aged man holding an icon, spray-painted the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” and a Christogram on both the Holocaust memorial and the synagogue.
The disturbing display of intolerance shocked the community, who informed the police and are planning to file a lawsuit.
In its statement, the Greek Foreign Ministry wrote, “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 called Greeks to stand up against such acts, stating, “Such actions remind us of the need to be vigilant in defending our moral values against racism, hatred, and bigotry.”
Before the Holocaust, Greece was home to a vibrant Jewish community, especially in Thessaloniki and Ioannina. Currently, the Greek Jewish community has reduced to just a few thousand people.
Many Greek Jews were killed in concentration camps or emigrated to Israel or the US after the war.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), the country’s EJC affiliate, issued the following announcement stressing that the action “emanates religious fanaticism and intolerance”:
“KIS, Dec. 4, 2020: Religious fanaticism and bigotry emanate from the new desecration attacks against Jewish sacred sites in Larissa, that occurred on December 3rd, 2020. The vandals used religious symbols to leave the mark of their anti-Semitic hatred on the exterior surrounding wall of the Synagogue of Larissa and the city’s Holocaust Monument, as a statement of contempt towards the sanctity of the sites and devastation of the memory of the Holocaust victims.
The Greek Jewry strongly condemns these hideous attacks. We urge the competent authorities to trace down the perpetrators, arrest them and bring them to justice.
We quote the Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas who just a couple of days ago stated: “Europe stands firm against all forms of antisemitism. Jewish life is and always will be part of European societies and our way of life…”. Zero tolerance to fanaticism, intolerance and antisemitism”.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, with a tweet condemned “the desecration of the holy Jewish places in Larissa. Jewish life was, is and will be part of European societies. We will continue to fight for open and free societies. No tolerance for fanaticism, intolerance and anti-Semitism”. The tweet was retweeted by the E.C. Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life Katharina von Schnurbein.