February 2, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki condemns the “disgusting vandalism” of a monument inside the campus

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki, convicted on Thursday, condemned the vandalism of a monument erected in 2014 on the campus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH).

In a statement, the Jewish community asked the university authorities not only to condemn the incident and restore the monument, but also to fully cooperate with the police to arrest the perpetrators.

The cemetery existed for more than 500 years and by the time of destruction there were about 400,000 graves. Currently, the University of Thessaloniki is located on the former territory of the necropolis, and not a trace remains of the cemetery. The Jewish community of Thessaloniki was one of the oldest in Europe.

During the German occupation during World War II, 96% of Jews were sent to concentration camps. Of more than 50,000, only 1,950 returned.
The Israeli Central Council of Greece (KIS) said that the monument has again become the object of heinous vandalism and called on the competent authorities to immediately find and arrest those responsible for its desecration.

“The monument dedicated to the Jewish cemetery, located at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, has once again become the object of monstrous vandalism. A swastika was applied to the grave, symbolizing the sanctity of the Jewish cemetery, one of the oldest in Europe, destroyed in 1942 by the Nazis and their accomplices, as well as the destruction of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, the largest in Europe. Greece during the Holocaust. The marble dedication of the monument was also defiled with fascist symbols.

With a smudge of horrifying Nazi swastikas and fascist-style graffiti, we say goodbye to 2022, during which no vandalism against Jewish objects was recorded in Greece.

We condemn the unholy act of the vandals, intolerant and anti-Semitic, who express their hatred and fanaticism by desecrating the memory of Thessaloniki Jews. No tolerance for anti-Semitism! We call on law enforcement agencies to mobilize to detain the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the message says.

It is noted that “at a time when the JCT, in close cooperation with the Greek government, with Germany and with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, as well as with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and AUTH, for the construction of the Holocaust Museum in Greece, the act of these individuals confirms in the strongest possible terms the ongoing need to combat racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and intolerance, as well as the importance of promoting and highlighting the history of Thessaloniki and aspects of the centuries-old presence of its Jewish inhabitants.”

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