A newly renovated historic synagogue in the Greek city of Trikala was vandalized with what the country’s Jewish umbrella organization called “abusive slogans of anti-Semitic hatred.”
“Jewish snakes out” was among the slogans painted in bright blue on an outside wall of the synagogue in Trikala, a city in northern Greece that once was home to one of the country’s oldest Jewish communities.
The vandalism has caused “outrage and deep sadness,” the Central Jewish Council of Greece, or KIS, said in a statement.
“We are reminded that the snake’s egg continues to hatch in our society, and that the fight against anti-Semitism must be continuous and vigilance uninterrupted,” it said.
The statement said authorities must “take all necessary measures to arrest and punish the perpetrators and to protect the Jewish sites of the city of Trikala, which has demonstrated its zero tolerance of intolerance and racism.”
In October 2018, eight tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Trikala were smashed. The cemetery has some of Greece’s oldest tombstones, including some erected more than 450 years ago. About 40 Jews lived in the city of some 81,000 at the time of the cemetery vandalism.
Although a predominantly Orthodox Christian nation, Greece has had a Jewish presence for thousands of years with various communities established throughout the country.
The vast majority of Greece’s Jewish community perished during the Holocaust when upwards of 80,000 Greek Jews were deported to Nazi death camps. Today, small communities exist in Athens, Thessaloniki and other smaller towns, including Ioannina, which once boasted a thriving ancient community.
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