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June 11, 2015 4:46 pm

Greece Outraged Over Desecration of Athens Holocaust Memorial for Children

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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The Israeli Embassy in Athens. Photo: Infoathens via Wikimedia Commons.

The Israeli Embassy in Athens. Photo: Infoathens via Wikimedia Commons.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday denounced the recent desecration of a commemorative plaque in Athens dedicated to Greek Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust.

The memorial, located next to a children’s playground at Pafou Square, was defaced earlier this month with a swastika and Nazi SS signs.

“We express our outrage at this offensive and bigoted act of desecrating a monument that is dedicated to the memory of innocent victims of the horror of Nazism and fascism; to the memory of Greek children of Jewish descent,” said Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras. “This barbaric act is an affront to Greek society, and we condemn it unequivocally.”

“The Greek government and the whole of Greek society express their solidarity with our Jewish fellow citizens and stand together with them in the common struggle for more tolerance, for eradication of intolerance and racism, and for the marginalization of the isolated elements who cultivate hatred and divisiveness within Greek society.”

Meanwhile, a separate new Holocaust memorial was dedicated on Sunday in Kavala, a port city in northern Greece, according to The Times of Israel. The ceremony took place weeks after the original event was called off by city officials who wanted the Star of David removed from the monument.  The City Council and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece later confirmed that the monument would be erected in its original form.

Several incidents of vandalism have taken place over the last year at Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials across Greece, the Forward reported.

A 2014 survey by Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League found that 69 percent of Greeks hold antisemitic views, the highest rate of any country in Europe. The percentage is nearly twice the rate of France, the next highest country, with 37 percent.



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