Memorial vandals say Athens synagogue is next

By Victor Eliezer, July 3, 2014

Last Friday, vandals defaced a Holocaust memorial in Athens.

The attackers left a note in black marker pen on one of the stones, saying that they would return to destroy the nearby synagogue.

The graffiti read: "Par Akoum 2 of the Talmoud, the converted Jews should be executed … be informed by the unit against terrorism, we will make the synagogue plot [sic]."

Erected in 2010, the monument commemorates the 60,000 Greek Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

The memorial is just 50m from the Athens' Beit Shalom synagogue and the Jewish community's offices.

Also nearby is the location where the Nazis rounded up the Jews of the Greek capital before sending them to concentration camps. More than 1,000 Athenian Jews perished in the Holocaust. Today, 3,000 Jews live in Athens.

The president of the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece, Benjamin Albalas, condemned the vandalism as shameful. He noted that Greek police rushed to investigate the incident.

The president of the Jewish community of Athens, Minos Moisis, said: "We will not allow anyone to harm the memory of Holocaust victims and threaten the community. Our struggle against antisemitism and racism is sustained and we will not stop. We are not afraid."

The incident comes several weeks after vandals desecrated the Jewish cemetery in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe's highest rate of antisemitic attitudes, with 69 per cent of Greeks espousing anti-Jewish views.

Last updated: 5:57pm, July 3 2014