Athens Jewish cemetery vandalized

“The scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great,” the Jewish community said of its cemetery’s desecration. 

By: World Israel News Staff

The Jewish cemetery of Athens, Greece, was vandalized over the weekend, an event the local Jewish community is calling “one of the most violent and significant anti-Semitic events of recent years in Greece.”

Unknown vandals entered the cemetery on Friday night and destroyed nine commemorative marble struts. The marble slabs are used to mark the sectors of the cemetery, and are dedicated to the memory of the dead by their families.

“The scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great,” the Jewish community said in a statement.

While this is not the first time the cemetery was desecrated, it is the first time such an act was “organized and planned in [a] part of the cemetery that is not visible from the neighboring houses and with incredible fury,” the statement said.

“The view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger,” the statement added.

The Jewish Community of Athens vowed to “exercise all the legal means at its disposal,” and has already launched a complaint with the police, which immediately dispatched a team to the scene of the crime to investigate.

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The Jewish community also called upon “all the institutions of the State and the City, the Justice, the Religious and Spiritual Authorities of the country and the Civil Society, to condemn unambiguously and without reservation this desecration and to stand with absolutely zero tolerance against such phenomena of violence and intolerance.”

“There is no worse sign of a society’s moral decline than desecration of a cemetery and disrespect for the dead,” the Jewish community said. “It is not an act that concerns only our community. It is an act that brutally affects the whole of society, the values and principles of a favored state.”

Most of Greece’s pre-war Jewish population was deported and murdered in Nazi death camps by German occupation forces toward the end of the war.

Vandalism of Jewish sites and anti-Semitic attacks has increased in Greece since the rise in recent years of the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn party, which grew to become Greece’s third-largest political party.

Among Europeans, Greeks have some of the most negative attitudes towards Jews, a 2016 Pew Research Center study revealed.