VANDALISM OF JEWISH SITES IN LARISSA – PERPETRATOR ARRESTED - REACTIONS Print
Monday, 07 December 2020 10:31
On December 3, 2020, a man wearing a cassock and holding an icon, sprayed a Christogram cross with the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” on the Holocaust monument of Larissa. He did the same on the outer wall of the Synagogue which is currently being restored. The incident was recorded on cctv street cameras which were examined after the President of the Jewish Community of Larissa informed the police and filed a lawsuit. The man was arrested the following day in the nearby area of Tempi. He was charged with damaging property and violating antiracism law.

REACTIONS:

-The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) issued the following announcement stressing that the action “emanates religious fanaticism and intolerance”:

KIS, Dec. 4, 2020: Religious fanaticism and bigotry emanate from the new desecration attacks against Jewish sacred sites in Larissa, that occurred on December 3rd, 2020. The vandals used religious symbols to leave the mark of their anti-Semitic hatred on the exterior surrounding wall of the Synagogue of Larissa and the city’s Holocaust Monument, as a statement of contempt towards the sanctity of the sites and devastation of the memory of the Holocaust victims.

The Greek Jewry strongly condemns these hideous attacks. We urge the competent authorities to trace down the perpetrators, arrest them and bring them to justice.

We quote the Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas who just a couple of days ago stated:  “Europe stands firm against all forms of antisemitism. Jewish life is and always will be part of European societies and our way of life…”. Zero tolerance to fanaticism, intolerance and antisemitism”.

-Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, with a tweet condemned “the desecration of the holy Jewish places in Larissa. Jewish life was, is and will be part of European societies. We will continue to fight for open and free societies. No tolerance for fanaticism, intolerance and anti-Semitism”. The tweet was retweeted by the E.C. Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life Katharina von Schnurbein.

-Secretary General for Religious Affairs, George Kalantzis, in his statement emphasized that “the fact that the perpetrator used the symbol of the Holy Cross in order to desecrate the Monument and the Synagogue is extremely sad. It is a double desecration, therefore it is highly encouraging that the Metropolitan Church of Larissa condemned in most unequivocal way this hideous action. Religious hatred has no place in a contemporary democratic society”.

-The Metropolitan Bishop of Larissa and Tyrnavos, Hieronimos, in his statement “expresses his deep regrets for this despicable event and condemns this along with every kind of action which offend the religious feeling and provoke confrontation between Religions…”. “We pray that people will understand that with such incidents of desecration and sacrilege, the message of the Gospel of love and peace of God on earth is nullified”, the announcement concludes.

-The Greek Foreign Ministry denounced the “heinous” vandal attacks in an announcement saying: “This abhorrent act offends the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and is not in line with Greek culture and the values of Greek society. Such actions remind us of the need to be vigilant in defending our moral values against racism, hatred and bigotry”.

-The Mayor of Larissa, Apostolos Kaloyiannis, pointed out that “Every vandalism is an insult on our city and is strongly condemned by all citizens. …Intolerance and fanaticism have no place in our city”

The vandalism was also condemned by political parties, embassies, and members of the Greek Parliament.