Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris Sworn In Wearing Holocaust Symbol in Defiance of Golden Dawn Councilman


Expressing his anti-fascist views and in solidarity with the 50,000 Jewish residents of Thessaloniki who were deported and perished during the Holocaust, Mayor Yiannis Boutaris was sworn in in the city’s town hall wearing a yellow Star of David with the word Jude (Jew in German) on it. It was an exact replica of the yellow cloth stars that Jews were forced to wear by Germans during the Nazi occupation.

The tattooed Boutaris, who won comfortably in May’s municipal elections with almost 60% of the vote, is credited with much of the revival happening in the northern Greek port town. He was recently listed in a global list of mayors transforming their cities in The Huffington Post.

He reportedly wore the star on his lapel during his swearing in to protest the election of far-right Golden Dawn MP Artemis Matthaiopoulos on the municipal council. Golden Dawn is a Greek neo-Nazi party that has gained considerably in recent Greek elections. Boutaris has been an outspoken critic of the far-right and fascism.

During the swearing-in ceremony, protesters exchanged chants and insults with each other. Leftists and Golden Dawn supporters who sat in the opposite public gallery at the municipal council chanted anti-Nazi and anti-communist slogans.

After a while, Mayor Boutaris pleaded with both sides to calm down, telling them that “the municipal council is not a coffee house or a soccer stadium.”

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki dates back two thousand years. The city was home to a major Jewish community until the Second World War, when 50,000 people were moved into a ghetto and eventually rounded up and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were murdered. Only 1200 Jews live in the city today.



  1. Nazi’s were right wing fanatics and fascists. Fascists are right wing, Communists (like that other war criminal Stalin) are far left. Learn something. If the right wing shoe, and association fit, wear it. You can’t use their misguided name as justification. Golden Dawn is a fascist and right wing organization filled with hate and the same kind of myopic anger that characterized their RIGHT WING predecessors, the NAZIs. Sorry, Stephanos, read some history.

  2. Giwrgos Makris on

    τι μπραβο λετε μερικοι ρε μαλακες ελληνες! ντροπη σας να λετε μπραβο για αυτο το γιδι τον ανθελληνα που θελει να ειμαστε αδερφια με τους τουρκους………ο μπουταρης ειναι πουσταρης εβραιοδουλος και οπως φεναιτε και εσεις οι ελληνες της αμερικης εχετε γινει το ιδιο…………..ειναι ενας τραγικος τυπακος, ντρεπομαι για λογαριασμο των θεσσαλονικεων αλλα και στην αθηνα ιδιο πουστη βγαναλε, ενα ανθελληνικο τερας…………..οι πατριωτες ειναι μεσα στην φυλακη και οι κλεφτες εξω………..κανεις δεν ειναι κατα των εβραιων αυτος ειναι τραγικος που ψοφα για δημοσιοτητα.
    Φασιτες ειναι ολοι αυτοι οι θλιβεροι.

  3. It demeans both the right and the left to label fascism either way. Arthur Schlesigner, Jr. described this point in the New York Times Magazine on April 4, 1948, “The Fascists, for example, were not conservative in any very meaningful sense. They did not wish to preserve the existing order, or even to turn back the clock to some more stable century.They purposefully planned to transform the existing order into a new and all-absorbing authoritarianism, based upon the energies and frustrations of modern industrialism. The Fascists, in a meaningful sense, were revolutionaries. Yet their totalitarian ideal hardly fitted into the pattern of the Left, which had been the traditional home of greater freedoms and more generous aspirations.”

    One could argue definitions of right and left have changed in the last 66 years, but fascism still sits somewhere on the far reaches of the political continuum. Fascism is both right and left, and neither right nor left.

    My parents in-law live in Thessaloniki, and my husband was born and raised there. My father-in-law, who is 81 years old, vividly recalls the horrors of Nazi occupation and the disappearance of beloved neighbors during his childhood, followed by the civil war. He is devastated by the emergence of Golden Dawn.

    Bravo, Mayor Boutaris! Your statement to Greece and the world has been heard. Ordinarily, I would share this article on social media, but because Golden Dawn is described as “far right”, I won’t share it. Fascists can be accurately described only one way: EVIL.

  4. My family homeland, Thessaloniki named as la madre de Israel, was a Jewish city before Greek capture from Turks in 1912. The Jews including converted Jews were main part of the population. It is a really pity to see the lost of a Jewish heritage completely in a Jewish city.

  5. Today begins a new broadcast season for Greek mass media; wouldn't be a step forward if this story became a template for a new, progressive, indeed, a true golden dawn for Greece? Let all mass media treat Jews, Israel, and America with a more understanding, tolerant mien, so out of character, heretofore, for a country steeped in anti-Semitism, becoming singularly the most such among European and Christian nations (surpassing Hungary)!

  6. This is remarkable act. This is an honorable and a brave one. I salute and admire the bravery of this amazing person.
    Being a son of a holocaust survivor, this brings me back to the stories my dad would tell me about the Christian Greeks who supported his family and helped most of them to survive

  7. What you just said is not true. Nazis consider themselves right wingers and despise everything that the left wing stands for. That's why they chant against and attack communists, labor unions, gays and immigrants in rallies.
    Nazis and fascists are in no way shape or form part of the left and naming them so is a blatant perversion of history and reality by certain people's who want to shift the blame on others and free their own conscience of the guilt of hating people of different political ideologies, different sexual orientations and nationalities.

Leave A Reply