The Athens’ Jewish cemetery was desecrated late on Sunday night with anti-Semitic graffiti, days before the verdict in the trial of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.
“Juden Raus”, meaning “Jews Out” in German, was painted in black on the outside fence of the cemetery in the town of Nikaia, along with a symbol similar to the Golden Dawn swastika.
The Israeli embassy in Greece and Greek officials condemned the vandalism.
In three separate tweets, the embassy wrote: “The heinous anti-Semitic graffiti found today on the walls of the Athens Jewish Cemetery during Jewish High Holidays is yet another reminder of the existence of evil. Together with many other proud Greek voices we stand against hate, racism and extremism based on ignorance and prejudice. We are certain of a prompt Greek authorities’ reaction and have full confidence such acts will not be tolerated. Hate will not deter us.”
Earlier on Monday, government spokesman Stelios Petsas, Education Minister Niki Kerameus and Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias condemned the act of vandalism.
“Nazism and anti-Semitism and their followers have no place in Greece and will not be tolerated,” Petsas said.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said he was “saddened and appalled” by the vandalism. “Nazism and its followers have no place in our society and in any society,” he said in a statement on his official Twitter account.
The hate crime was also condemned by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, which stated that: “The followers of the neo-Nazi organizations strike again and remind us of their hatred against the Jews. Neo-Nazis vandalized the external surrounding walls of the Jewish cemetery of Athens with the same slogans the Nazis used 80 years ago in order to deport millions of Jews from their homes and exterminate six million in the gas chambers, amongst whom 60.000 Greek Jews.”
“Nazism has no place in our democracy, mainly because it promotes its destruction along with the prevalence of the total violation of human rights. We express the certainty that the Greek State will take all necessary measures so that the perpetrators will be arrested and face justice. We will not be intimidated. Zero tolerance for Nazism,” the statement continued.
Meanwhile, Greek Police on Monday said that investigations are underway to locate and arrest the perpetrators.