The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki issued a statement condemning vandalism on a new mural on Michael Kalou Street commemorating the Northern Greek port city’s Jews.
“It is unfortunate that a few days after its completion strangers, who seem to be bothered by the willingness of the city to remember even the darkest pages of its history, vandalized a work that received flattering comments both for its aesthetics and for the powerful message that it conveys on the need to preserve the memory and constantly remind the events of the Holocaust,” the community said in its announcement.
The 35-meter long, 7-meter high mural was created by street artist Same84 to pay homage to the thousands who perished in Nazi death camps in World War II on one of the walls that enclosed the old Jewish neighborhood of Rezi Vardar. A narrative piece inspired by photographs from that period, it was unveiled at the start of the month.
According to local media, the unknown vandals smeared it with black paint. Efforts immediately got under way to restors the mural, led by the Vardar Neighborhood Group, which was also behind the original initiative to create the piece.
“Racism and antisemitism remain a serious problem and an open wound for our society. It is obvious that we must always remain vigilant in order to fight – through the use of historical facts and education – any attempt to revive the ideologies that gave birth to the Holocaust, the nadir of humanity,” the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki added.