Headstones smashed at Greek Jewish cemetery


(JTA) — A Jewish cemetery near Athens that was desecrated with neo-Nazi symbols two years ago was vandalized by unknown individuals who smashed several marble headstones.

Police told the AFP news agency about the incident at Nikaia cemetery on Saturday.

“Marble grave headstones were damaged in the Jewish part of the Nikaia cemetery,” a police spokesman told AFP, without giving further details.

The head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, or KIS, Minos Moissis, said he was “very angry” about the desecration, in a Facebook post that included pictures of two broken headstones.

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In October 2015, parties who have not been identified wrote in black paint on the entrance to the same cemetery south of the Greek capital the number 18 – a neo-Nazi code for Adolf Hitler — and the word “raus” – German for “out.” In Nazi Germany, the phrase Juden raus, “Jews out,” was a common slogan among anti-Semites. They also painted a swastika on the cemetery’s gate.

Greece’s Golden Dawn party is widely considered one of Europe’s most virulent neo-Nazi movements with representation in a national parliament. It holds 16 seats out of 300 in the Greek parliament.

The Nikaia Jewish cemetery is an active and relatively new place of burial. The community has been burying its dead there since shortly after World War II, when city authorities allocated the land to the community for this purpose.