ATHENS, Greece (JTA) – A disputed Holocaust memorial in Greece was desecrated two weeks after its dedication.
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 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 board.
The monument became a source of contention after Kavala city officials postponed its original dedication, saying they opposed the Star of David on the memorial. The ceremony was held on June 7 following pressure from the Greek Jewish community, the Greek government and international groups on Kavala’s mayor.
On Monday, the Jewish community expressed its satisfaction with the Kavala municipality for its “immediate intervention to clean and restore the monument.” The community called on Greek authorities to apprehend the vandals.
Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials in Greece have seen a spate of vandalism incidents in the past year.
A recent Anti-Defamation League survey showed that Greece has Europe’s highest rate of anti-Semitic attitudes, with 69 per cent of Greeks espousing anti-Semitic views. That is nearly twice the rate of the next highest country, France, with 37 per cent.