Greek Jewish community body deplores cemetery desecration

World News

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s top Jewish community organization on Friday voiced “outrage and resentment” at the desecration of a tomb in a Jewish cemetery in northwestern Greece.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities said the tomb, in the city of Ioannina, was found on Thursday with the covering slab removed and smashed marble strewn around it.

“We strongly condemn this shameful act of sacrilege which indicates that the hatred of the perpetrators leads to villainous manifestations of violence and fanaticism,” the Central Board said in an statement.

It added that the Jewish cemetery of Ioannina has been repeatedly vandalized in the past.

“We call upon the competent authorities to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the statement said. “The Jewish cemetery of Ioannina is … a place of memory and cultural heritage for the city of Ioannina as a whole.”

Ioannina once had a thriving Jewish community that was decimated during World War II, when occupying Nazi forces deported Jewish residents to death camps.

Nevertheless, in 2019 the city elected Moses Elisaf as its mayor. He’s believed to be the first Jewish person elected as a mayor in Greece.

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