|THESSALONIKI HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DESECRATED|
|Monday, 20 June 2011 12:38|
The Holocaust Memorial of Thessaloniki was vandalized on Friday 17 June 2011, with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans. Perpetrators smudged the bronze plaque with the inscription dedicated to the 50.000 Jews of Thessaloniki who perished during the Holocaust, and wrote “LIES” on it.
This hideous act coincides with the decision of the City Council of Thessaloniki to bestow the City’s highest decoration over the 30 Holocaust survivors still living Thessaloniki in a ceremony to be held today, Monday 20 June.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki issued press releases condemning this anti-Semitic attack and urging the authorities to take all necessary measures in order to apprehend the culprits.
The Minister of Education Anna Diamantopoulou, the City Council of Thessaloniki, as well as the local Mayor Giannis Boutaris, issued public statements condemning the vandalism. The Holocaust Monument was immediately cleaned.
* From the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece:
Once again those who yearn for a return of Nazism have, today 17th June 2011, defiled the Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece denounces this act and yet again calls on those in authority to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the city’s Holocaust Memorial; a reminder to everyone of the barbarity with which Nazism drove 50,000 Jewish citizens of Thessaloniki to mass produced death in the concentration camps.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities asks for the arrest of the perpetrators who have slighted the integrity and culture of this city by making a display of their anti-Semitic rage to coincide with the decision of the Municipality of Thessaloniki to pay tribute next Monday, 20th June 2011, to 31 of its Jewish citizens, victims of the Holocaust who survived Hitler’s concentration camps, thereby showing the city’s respect for historical memory.
We are certain that the authorities, the Church and other local organisations categorically condemn barbaric acts of this sort that contradict the values of the Hellenic Republic.
Athens, 17th June 2011
* From the JEWISH COMMUNITY OF THESSALONIKI:
Today, 17.6.2011, the Holocaust Memorial of Thessaloniki was once again desecrated by a person or persons unknown. This memorial, inaugurated in 1997 by the then President of the Republic, Constantinos Stefanopoulos, was dedicated by the Hellenic State to the memory of the 50,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki who were vilely exterminated by the Nazis.
The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki unequivocally condemns this act committed by those who yearn for a return of Nazism just a few days before the Municipality of Thessaloniki is to honour its 30 remaining concentration camp survivors.
When it comes to issues such as the extermination of millions of people of our faith, we know no such terms as tolerance or slackening of vigilance. We ask the State to take immediate action and do whatever is necessary to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and punished.
REACTIONS TO THE DESECRATION
* Anna Diamantopoulou, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning: "We unequivocally condemnthe desecration of the Jewish Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki just a few days before the event to pay tribute to the survivors of Nazi brutality. It is an act of violence and religious intolerance that cannot erase the historic role of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki. Greece has always been, and will always remain a country that respects and defends the rights of its people, irrespective of race, gender, religion or descent."
* Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki, and Thessaloniki City Council: "The Municipal authority of Thessaloniki unequivocally condemns the acts of vandalism against the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Plateia Eleftherias which took place earlier today, Friday 17th June 2011. Such acts serve neither the principles of the Republic, nor the peaceful co-existence of the people in this city, nor the interests of the city itself. Thessaloniki was home to the greatest and most active Jewish community in Europe until the tragic events of the German Occupation in World War II and the Holocaust which resulted in the loss of 50,000 of the city’s Jewish people in the crematoria. The city must respect and honour its lost sons and daughters, people who made their contribution at every level of life in this city, just like all its other citizens.
‘The vast majority of the people of Thessaloniki condemn all acts and behaviours of this kind, and do not succumb easily to futile attempts to undermine the peace and stability of this society. The multicultural nature of the city of Thessaloniki is its intangible wealth and untapped resource, which, used correctly with all due respect and appreciation, will provide this city with a path to growth and viability,’ said Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki.
The Municipal Council of Thessaloniki took immediate action to clean up the Memorial and restore it to its former state. Please note that at six o’clock in the evening, next Monday, 20th June, Thessaloniki City Council will hold an event in honour of surviving hostages from Nazi concentration camps, and in an unprecedented move will confer the city’s highest distinction on the thirty members of its Jewish community and one member of its Orthodox Christian community who survived the brutality.”