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HOLOCAUST MONUMENT IN LARISSA VANDALIZED BY ALLEGED CLERGYMAN

In the evening of Monday July 17, 2017, an individual dressed as a monk who calls himself ‘father Kleomenis’ -a cult figure, popular for his bigot ideas and You tube posts- attacked and vandalized the Holocaust Monument in Larissa, situated in the central Jewish Martyrs Square of the city. In his video posted on You Tube, the alleged monk curses the Jews, denies the Holocaust and calls on the local patriots of Larissa to intervene and demolish the Monument. "Father" Kleomenis spits, kicks and throws eggs at the Monument. Some of his characteristic quotes: “Here, we read 6 million! Fairy tails… Shit on their faces, merely 600.000 Hitler wiped out!”. Kleomenis spits the Monument and says: “Satanic Jews”. He kicks the Monument and says: “Curse on your dirty Monuments” and continues: “Worms, Jewish bitches, this has to fall. The stinking Jewishness has to be taken down from Larissa. Rise up! Patriotic organizations of Larissa take it down, bring the bulldozer on!”Local police was notified and legal procedure was enacted. Investigation is ongoing. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the Jewish Community of Larissa issued press releases. The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church issued an announcement disassociating itself from the "monk" and condemning his actions.

The Municipality of Larissa issued an Announcement condemning the attack. The General Secretary of Religious Affairs George Kalantzis, as well as the General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights Maria Giannakaki reacted swiftly by providing the Public Prosecutor of Larissa, the Racist Crimes Department of the Police, and the Cyber Crime Police Department with the relevant evidence. The President of the Jewish Community of Larissa pressed charges against the perpetrator. The Greek Helsinki Monitor also pressed charges against the “so called ‘father Kleomenis’ for a series of racist crimes”.

* The Announcement of KIS:

Shame and outrage are the feelings that one feels when realizes what happened in Larissa on Monday July 17, 2017: The shameful and upsetting incident of the desecration of the Holocaust Monument of Larissa –the first Holocaust Monument erected in Greece in 1987, in the memory of the Greek Jews deported and exterminated in the Nazi death camps. This highly significant Monument was vulgarly vandalized, with offensive expressions and brutal actions, by a robed clergyman who apparently has no affiliation to the Greek Orthodox Church.  On the same day leaflets of relevant anti-Semitic content were strewn across the Monument and the Square of Jewish Martyrs of Larissa. The case is being handled by the Police and the justice system. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece asked the competent  Authorities to arrest the perpetrator and bring him to justice.

In addition KIS expresses the Greek Jewry’s belief that the society of Larissa and all local institutions will firmly condemn the incident, will isolate the perpetrators and will treat with respect the Holocaust Monument of Larissa and the Jewish Community which is an integral part of the city, that they will ultimately respect the city’s very cultural heritage and civilization, as the people of Larissa have always done in the course of history.

Athens July 18, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

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PRESS RELEASE OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA FOR THE VANDALIZATION OF THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENT

In the afternoon of  Monday July 17, 2017, in Larisa, Greece, the so-called Father Cleomenis with his clerical clothing, well-known from the social media for his racist mania, has defiled the Holocaust Monument of the town.

With vulgar insults, kicking and throwing eggs and flyers of anti-Semitic content at the Holocaust Monument of the town of Larisa, “Father Cleomenis” denied the Holocaust and invited all the self-called “patriotic” organizations of Larissa to stand up in order to destroy the Memorial and the “Jewishness” of the city of Larissa. The incident has been filmed by his associates and has been already uploaded to Youtube.

The Jewish Community of Larissa expresses its abhorrence for this violent incident that just took place in a town whose citizens and local authorities show respect and honor to this Monunent; in a town that has never experienced similar incidents in the past. Our Community expresses its satisfaction for the immediate mobilization of the Police Authorities.

We feel confident that in the town of Larissa, fanaticism, intolerance, racist discourse or any other similar phenomenon will be isolated and will be fought at its birth.

Athens, July 18, 2017
JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA

 
GREEK ARTIST COMPARES ECONOMIC CRISIS TO THE HOLOCAUST

Singer Jimmy Panoussis, in an interview published in “To Vima” on June 25, 2017 (on the occasion of his participation in the theatrical comedy of Aristophanes “Peace”), referred to the “Greeks as the new Jews of our times”. Panoussis said: “As the Nazis chose Jews to be their victims, now the neo-nazis and Schäuble’s people have picked us, the Greeks”. This comparison of the current Greek economic crisis to the Holocaust was criticized Greek Jewish leaders. In an article by Victor Eliezer (EJP, July 4, 2017), the President of the Athens Jewish Community Minos Moissis stressed that Panoussis’ statement “affects me both as a Jew and as a Greek. As a Jew, because once again the mass murder of the Holocaust is wiped out when it is compared to unrelated modern themes. As a Greek because he isolates me as a supposedly victim and target of a Europe in which I want to live”. 
* READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

 
OLD JEWISH TOMBSTONES FIND NEW LIFE IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Friday, 07 July 2017 09:05

By Zack Bodner*,

I recently saw one of the most unnerving things I’ve ever seen in my life.

The largest cemetery in Europe — with more than 350,000 graves — was the Jewish cemetery in Thessaloniki, Greece, the epicenter of the Greek Jewish community and the preeminent location of Sephardic life after the Inquisition. The cemetery was destroyed by the Greeks after the Nazis invaded in 1942 and the marble tombstones were then used to pave sidewalks, build walls, homes, buildings and even swimming pools. So much marble flooded the market that the cost of marble went down to almost nothing.

I was in Thessaloniki recently, traveling through Greece with 16 relatives on my wife’s side to investigate her family roots; my father-in-law’s parents were born in the city.

Eight adults and eight kids spent more than two weeks touring the country and learning the history of the Greek Jews. In our investigation into the family roots, we learned that a tombstone of a member of the Alcheck family might be built into a wall in a particular neighborhood. So we drove there — the Thessaloniki suburb of Panorama, an upscale neighborhood with beautiful three-story villas.

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MONUMENT IN AMARANTOS (KARDITSA) IN RECOGNITION OF WARTIME RESCUE OF GREEK JEWS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 07:35

The Greek Reporter, June 19, 2017, by Kerry Kolasa – Sikiaridi: Greek-Jews thanked the residents of the village of Amarantos in Karditsa on Sunday who protected them or their relatives from the Nazis during World War II, during the unveiling of a monument of “eternal gratitude and recognition” to commemorate the event.

“Those residents who are still living and those of you who have passed, have a special place in our hearts, of eternal gratitude. I see around me my family, children, grandchildren, relatives and on behalf of all, I have to thank you with all my heart because we exist thanks to you,” the president of the Jewish Community of Karditsa, Maki Kapeta, told the 500 attendees.

The residents of Amarantos, called Mastroyianni in the ’40s, offered a safe haven and hospitality to the 62 Greek-Jews of Karditsa and another 20 from Thessaloniki, Volos and Trikala from the autumn of 1943 until the summer of 1944, sharing their scarce food supplies they had in their homes.

Victor Venouziou, a retired civil engineer from Karditsa who lives in Thessaloniki, and a life-long honorary member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, is one of the ten living survivors who were hidden by locals in a house in Amarantos and the one who paid for the creation of the monument. He thanked the residents of Amarantos and the municipality of Karditsa. “I would like to say it loud, a big ‘well done’ to the Mastroyiannites [and] to the organizations EAM-ELAS a ‘thank you’; they were the ones who saved us. The support of EAM was crucial,” he said.

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NEW TERRORIST ATTACK IN LONDON Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 12:07
The terrorist attack that occurred on Saturday night, June 3, 2017, on the London Bridge and in the Borough Market, just a few days before the important national elections in Great Britain, and only a few days after the deadly Manchester Arena bombing, is the third terrorist attack in Great Britain within three months. Seven people have been killed and at least 48 injured in this new terror incident. 

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses, first of all, its unwavering support to the British people and the warmest condolences of the Greek Jewry to the families of the victims.

In the same time we express our profound concern about the increase of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS) which has also claimed responsibility for this new double attack in London.

Within a few months, several deadly and atrocious terror attacks have struck Great Britain -a country that has adopted the multicultural agenda more than any other European country. Europe should be awaken and mobilized, join its forces against terrorism, rethink its counter-terrorism strategy, while remaining faithful to the principles and ideals of enlightenment and European democracy.

Athens, June 6, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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THE GREEK JEWS WELCOME ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER AT THE MONASTIRIOTES SYNAGOGUE IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 09:37

On June 15, 2017 the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki welcomed the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara in the Monastiriotes Synagogue.

«This is very moving to be here in this architectural gem, but more than being a beautiful building, it’s evocative of the great history and the great tragedy that befell the Jews of Greece», said the Israeli Prime Minister upon his arrival, after the choir of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki concluded singing “Yerushalayim shel zahav".

David Saltiel, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, welcoming the Israeli Prime Minister, referred to the long history of Jews in Greece, the importance of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, its almost complete annihilation during the Holocaust as well as to the efforts made by the very few survivors to revive the Community from its ashes and make it once again a living and thriving part of the city of Thessaloniki.

He also noted that the Prime Minister’s visit to Greece is of great importance to the Community and comes at an important point in time concerning the Greek – Israeli  relations. Today, after the Holocaust, all eight Jewish communities remaining in Greece, as well as the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, are trying hard to remain highly active organizations. Finally, he underlined the initiative of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki for the creation of the Holocaust Museum of Greece, which will become a world-class monument against racism, changing the horizon of the western entrance to the city and the map of the Holocaust monuments and museums of Europe.

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REPORT ON THE ACTS AGAINST RELIGIOUS SITES IN GREECE (2015) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 06:48

The General Secretariat for Religious Affairs and its Department of Religious Freedom and Interreligious Relations of the Ministry of Education released in June 2017, the English edition of the Report for 2015 on the “Acts against religious sites in Greece”. The report provides data and statistics on vandal and desecration attacks against religious sites (Christian, Muslim and Jewish), as well as information on the legal and regulatory framework for the religious protection in Greece.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece is represented with the Board’s Secretary General, Dr. Moses Elisaf, at the Network of religious institutions for the registration and reporting on vandal incidents against religious sites, of the Education Ministry, founded in 2015.

- You may download HERE the Report in pdf
- See HERE THE REPORT IN GREEK

 
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