Jewish headstones smashed and vandalised in Athens cemetery


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Unknown assailants have destroyed nine marble Jewish headstones in a cemetery, in a southwestern suburb of Athens on Friday night.

A police spokesman said that "marble grave headstones were damaged in the Jewish part of the Nikaia cemetery," and an investigation into the incident has been opened.

The head of the Central Jewish Council of Greece (KIS), Minos Moissis, said the "scene is repulsive" and he was "very angry" about the desecration in a Facebook statement that included pictures of two smashed headstones.

Holocaust memorials have been a recurring target of vandals in Greece recently. “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 act was organized and planned in part of the cemetery that is not visible from the neighboring houses and with incredible fury...the view of the results of this abominable act causes us deep sorrow and anger” the statement by Minos Moissis continued.

The statement also called upon all 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” as "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 reason, we ask everybody to exhaust every effort to never allow such acts against anyone.”

The vandalism comes amid fears of rising anti-Semitism in Europe after a spate of recent incidents across the continent.