Gravestones broken in a Jewish cemetery in Athens, Greece.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Vandals destroyed nine marble Jewish tombstones in an Athens cemetery on Friday night. The headstones appear to have been kicked over and then smashed to pieces, according to a statement issued Saturday night by the Jewish Community of Athens.
“The scene is repulsive and our disappointment is great,” read the statement, which was posted to the Facebook page of the president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Minos Moissis, who said he was “very angry.”
“This is not the first time we see the result of a degrading act at our cemetery, but it is the first time we see such an act was organized and planned in part of the cemetery that is not visible from the neighboring houses and with incredible fury,” the statement said. “The view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger.”
The community group said it would take all available legal steps and had contacted the police, who have launched an investigation.
The group’s statement also called upon all governmental, municipal and religious institutions as well as civil society to unambiguously condemn the desecration “and to stand, with absolutely zero tolerance, against such phenomena of violence and intolerance.”
“There is no worse sign of a society’s moral decline than desecration of a cemetery and disrespect for the dead,” the statement read. “It is not just an act that concerns only our community and is recorded as one of the most violent and significant antisemitic events of recent years in Greece. It is about an act that brutally affects the whole of society, the values and principles of a favored state. For these reasons, we ask everybody to exhaust every effort to never allow such acts against anyone.”
Holocaust memorials have also been targeted by vandals in Greece in the recent past.