Crete synagogue's second arson attack

By Jessica Elgot, January 18, 2010
The Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the seaside town of Hania, Crete

The Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the seaside town of Hania, Crete

A Crete synagogue has been targeted by arsonists for the second time in two weeks.

Police said the attack took place around 4am yesterday when vandals broke into the first floor of the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the seaside town of Hania.

The blaze destroyed part of the shul’s wooden ceiling as well as much of the synagogue’s archives. Around 2,500 books, many of which are rare editions have been destroyed in the two attacks.

Synagogue director Nikos Stavroulakis added that four computers and 300 CDs and cassette tapes of Jewish music were also destroyed.

The fire brigade estimated the second fire caused $43,000 of damage.

The other arson attack took place on January 6th.

The synagogue fell into disrepair after the Second World War after the 300 Jews in Hania were shipped out of the city by the Nazis.

All died when the ship was sunk by an Allied torpedo. It was painstakingly restored in the 1990s by Mr Stavroulakis.

He commented after the attack: "It is difficult at this moment to quite grasp how one faces the formidable task of reconciliation, since the cause of all of this is still to be determined. But our gift to Hania is our presence and our determination to continue to bear witness to values that are being severely tried at this moment.

"We have many friends and are deeply grateful for the support in whatever form it has taken."

Last updated: 1:04pm, January 20 2010