The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki (JCT) condemned the vandalism in Drama of the Monument for Jewish Victims of the Holocaust and of the tobacco storage building where victims were brought before their deportation and murder.
“What took place overnight between December 28 and 29, 2020,” it said in a statement, “is a cruel insult to the memory of 1,200 Jews who were annihilated in the Treblinka concentration camp, and to those few survivors who returned to their birthplace after World War II.”
The JCT asked for the immediate investigation and arrest of the perpetrators and the restoration of damages, as a gesture of respect to a community with a long history, saying that the vandalism of these sites “hurts the entire society.”
Damage includes spray-painting on the monument, the breaking off of a stone section, and graffiti on the tobacco storage space where the city’s Jewish population was arrested in 1943 by German-Bulgarian occupying forces before deportation to the concentration camps.
JCT also noted the incident is part of a chain of vandalism at several Jewish cemeteries and monuments in 2020: Athens (October 5), Thessaloniki (October 10), Rhodes (Ocober 11), and Larissa (December 3).
A similar condemnation was also issued by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, which asked the police directorate of the northeastern Greek city in Macedonia to arrest the perpetrators and restore damages.
In a statement later on Wednesday, the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the vandalism, calling the defacements “abhorrent acts that insult the memory of the victims of the Nazi atrocities and Greek culture.”
“We reiterate the importance of discrediting racism, hate and fanaticism, and the need to protect our ethical values,” it added in its message.