Jewish monument in Thessaloniki vandalized again

A monument on the campus of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University (AUT) which commemorates a Jewish cemetery destroyed by the Nazis in 1942 was targeted again by vandals.

The perpetrators sprayed a red swastika on the central marble commemorative plaque that symbolizes the cemetery and a fascist symbol on a marble dedication of the Monument.

“This act is an insult to the Monument that commemorates the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki who were exterminated in the Nazi camps and connects the modern image of the area with its history by reminding everyone the existence, for centuries, of the old Jewish Cemetery which was destroyed by the Nazis and their collaborators in 1942,” the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki said in a statement.

“The immoral act of imprinting swastikas and other symbols associated with the Nazi ideology on the marbles of the monument is also the greatest disrespect and insult to the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, a place of Education, character and conscience formation,” it added.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) described the latest vandalism as “hideous.”

“With the stain of the horrific Nazi swastika and a fascist-inspired graffiti we bid farewell to 2022, a year during which no incidents of vandalism of Jewish sites were registered in Greece. We condemn the unholy act of the vandals, followers of intolerance and antisemitism that express their hatred and fanaticism through the profanation of the memory of the Salonican Jews. No tolerance to antisemitism!” it said.

The latest vandalism was the fourth time the monument has been defaced. In 2019, unknown perpetrators smashed the marble slabs featuring writing in Hebrew, while in July 2018 a swastika was spray-painted on the monument.

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which is partly built on the ruins of the city’s old Jewish cemetery, unveiled the memorial to the graveyard in 2014.

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