A recently opened Holocaust memorial has become the latest target of vandalism in Greece as the country experiences a shocking rise in anti-Semitic incidents – the highest rate of any European country.
The black marble monument, which commemorates the 1,484 Jews from the northern port city of Kavala who were murdered by the Nazis, was discovered Monday to be covered in blue paint, according to The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.
It follows a similar attack earlier this month in Athens where a memorial to the 13,000 Greek Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust was desecrated with Nazi images, and comes in the wake of an increase in vandalism over the past year of Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials across Greece.
A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe’s highest rate of anti-Semitic attitudes, with 69 percent of Greeks espousing anti-Semitic views – nearly twice the rate of the next highest country, France, with 37 percent.
The monument in Kavala was opened on 7 June after city officials originally postponed its original dedication, saying they opposed the Star of David on the memorial, but went ahead following pressure from the Greek Jewish community, the Greek government and international groups on Kavala’s mayor.
“It is with sadness that we learned of the desecration of the Holocaust Memorial of Kavala, just two weeks after it was inaugurated … at the site where in 1943 the Jews of Kavala were arrested and detained before being deported to the death camps,” said a statement from The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.
On Monday, the Jewish community expressed its satisfaction with the Kavala municipality for its “immediate intervention to clean and restore the monument,” and called on Greek authorities to apprehend the vandals.