Neo-Nazi Slogans Spray-Painted on Walls of Athens Jewish Cemetery
Neo-Nazi slogans were spray-painted on the walls of a Jewish cemetery in Athens, Greece, on Sunday, prompting a swift response from authorities and a solidarity visit by Greek parliamentarians.
The German words “Juden Raus,” or “Jews out,” were quickly erased by municipal workers acting under the instructions of Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, gaining expressions of gratitude from the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS).
Police are investigating the incident.
KIS responded to the desecration with a statement saying, “Nazism has no place in our democracy, mainly because it promotes its destruction along with the prevalence of the total violation of human rights.”
“We express the certainty that the Greek State will take all necessary measures so that the perpetrators will be arrested and face justice,” the statement added.
“We will not be intimidated. Zero tolerance for Nazism,” it declared.
The incident prompted a visit to the cemetery by a group of Greek MPs, who held a moment of silence at the site’s monuments to Holocaust victims and Greek-Jewish soldiers who were killed in World War II.
Daniel Benardout, general treasurer and member of the KIS Presidium, told the MPs, “In the first hours after the hate attack launched against the Jewish cemetery of Athens, I express the Greek Jewry’s gratitude towards the representatives of the Greek Parliament whose presence here today has made their condemnation and sorrow explicitly clear.”
The United States Embassy in Athens denounced the desecration of the cemetery, tweeting, “The US Embassy condemns the repugnant vandal attack and anti-Semitic graffiti found at the Jewish Cemetery of Athens. We stand together against voices of hate & intolerance.”
Citing a statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Embassy added, “Wherever we find anti-Semitism we have an obligation to respond.”
The U.S. Embassy condemns the repugnant vandal attack and anti-Semitic graffiti found at the Jewish Cemetery of Athens. We stand together against voices of hate & intolerance. As @SecPompeo said in Thessaloniki, wherever we find anti-Semitism we have an obligation to respond.
— U.S. Embassy Athens (@USEmbassyAthens) October 6, 2020