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December 27, 2018 4:12 pm

Top Jewish Group Laments ‘Epidemic of Antisemitism’ in Europe After Holocaust Memorial Defaced in Northern Greek City

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

The vandalized Holocaust memorial in the northern Greek city of Kastoria. Photo: World Jewish Congress.

A Holocaust memorial in the northern Greek city of Kastoria was defaced on Tuesday with black spray-paint.

The white marble slab that was desecrated carries an inscription that recalls the fate of the city’s Jews during the Holocaust.

It says: “In this place, on March 24 1944, the Nazis gathered the 1,000 Jews of Kastoria and transported them to death camps in Auschwitz. Only 35 survived.”

According to Greek media reports, the mayor of Kastoria condemned Tuesday’s incident, and the memorial has since been cleaned up by local volunteers.

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It is not known yet who perpetrated the vandalism.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) expressed “deep concern” over the situation.

“Over the last year alone, we have found ourselves repeatedly condemning such despicable acts of antisemitism on countless occasions,” WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said. “Condemnation from the Jewish community, or from organizations like the World Jewish Congress, are not sufficient. There is an epidemic of antisemitism sweeping across Europe right now, and it must be made clear by authorities on every level that this cannot and will not be tolerated.”

“Earlier this month, the European Union issued an unprecedented declaration on fighting antisemitism and securing Jewish communities,” Singer added. “Days after that, the EU released a concerning report that showed that more than one-third of European Jews had considered emigrating and that more than 40 percent feared for their physical safety. It is imperative that we see action, and not just words, being taken to stop this frightening phenomenon at once. There is no place in European society for antisemitism.”

Earlier this month, a Holocaust memorial in the larger northern Greek city of Thessaloniki was targeted by vandals for the fourth time in a year.

Around 65,000 Greek Jews were killed in the Holocaust — over 80% of the country’s pre-World War II Jewish population.

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