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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN BARCELONA

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece sent the following letter to the Counselor Minister of the Embassy of Spain to Greece Mr. Javier Triana Jimenez, regarding the terrorist attack in Barcelona:

“Dear Minister,

On behalf of the Greek Jewry we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the Spanish people for the deadly terror attack that hit the popular tourist area of Las Ramblas in Barcelona. The words are very poor to describe the magnitude of evil, the hatred and the horror of such brutality.

The choice of such a crowded tourist area and the tragic result of the attack, 13 people dead until now and dozens of others injured, shows that the perpetrators wanted to struck the core values of Humanism and Democracy, all principles we stand for and have struggled for.

Joining the whole world, we express our most heartfelt sorrow and condolences to the families of the victims, wishing to all those injured to have a speedy and full recovery. 

On behalf of the Greek Jewry, we kindly ask you to convey this message to the Spanish Government and remain”.

Athens, August 18, 2017

CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

 
ANNOUNCEMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN BARCELONA

WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS, 17.8.2017:  World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder has condemned the attack in Barcelona which claimed the lives of a reported 13 people on Thursday, after a van drove into pedestrians in the crowded Las Ramblas district. The circumstances of the events were still unfolding, and the Spanish authorities were investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.

“The World Jewish Congress harshly condemns this heinous act of violence and carnage, and is carefully monitoring this situation with concern. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this attack and their families, and with all the people of Barcelona. “We are monitoring the events as they unfold with care and concern, and are in touch with the local Jewish community and its security groups. We pray that there will be no more victims”.

EUROPEAN JEWISH CONGRESS, 18.8.2017: The European Jewish Congress (EJC) strongly condemns the terror attack in Barcelona today after a van crashed on to a pavement in a popular tourist area of the city killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens of others.

“We are yet again witness to another terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated against innocent civilians,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said. “They are choosing to strike again at our zest for life and our basic freedoms with their cult of death. It is becoming increasingly difficult to prevent this abuse of regular vehicles as their chosen instrument of murder.” “We stand with the Spanish people and urge the authorities to bring to justice those who perpetrated this savage attack, including those who inspired it and those whose incitement encouraged it.” “The European Jewish Congress and the Jewish communities of Europe extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy and full recovery to those injured”.

 
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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ANTI-SEMITISM IN GREECE TODAY: ASPECTS, CAUSES, AND TACKLING THE PHENOMENON Print E-mail
Friday, 04 August 2017 10:40

Antisemitism in Greece today: Aspects, causes and tackling the phenomenon – Research by Giorgos Antoniou, Spyros Kosmidis, Elias Dinas, Leon Saltiel, published by the Heinrich-Böll Foundation Greece, Thessaloniki 2017.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Anti-Semitism is one of the most common manifestations of social prejudice in Europe and elsewhere. Greece is not an exception to this rule; in fact, Greece, according to the 2015/2017 Anti-Defamation League Global Survey has the highest proportion of people who harbour anti-Semitic sentiments in Europe. The study at hand was commissioned by Heinrich Boell Stiftung Greece to report the main findings of an original analysis of Greek public opinion that aimed to delve deeper into the causes of the phenomenon. The report was divided into three themes; 1) discussing the socio-political framework of anti-Semitism in modern Greece, 2) the full presentation of the empirical work conducted using public opinion surveys and 3) a set of policy recommendations to tackle the phenomenon. The executive summary at hand will briefly present the main aspects of each of the three themes.

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PRESS RELEASE OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA FOR THE VANDALIZATION OF THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENT Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 10:56

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

 
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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GREEK ARTIST COMPARES ECONOMIC CRISIS TO THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 11:48

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

 
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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