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Greek Jewish cemetery desecrated days before neo-Nazi verdict

‘Juden Raus’ — German phrase used by Nazis meaning ‘Jews Out’ — painted on fence of graveyard in Nikaia, along with symbol similar to swastika used by Golden Dawn

Illustrative: Graves in a cemetery for the Jewish community in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on May 30, 2014. (AP/ Nikolas Giakoumidis/File)
Illustrative: Graves in a cemetery for the Jewish community in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on May 30, 2014. (AP/ Nikolas Giakoumidis/File)

ATHENS — A Jewish cemetery was desecrated on Monday near Athens just days before the keenly-awaited verdict in a murder trial involving neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, prompting strong condemnation from Greece’s government.

“Juden Raus,” a phrase once used by the Nazis that means “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 swastika used by Golden Dawn, the Israelite Council of Greece said.

In a statement, government spokesman Stelios Petsas denounced “this act of vandalism.”

“Nazism and anti-Semitism and their followers have no place in Greece and will not be tolerated,” he said.

An Athens court is due to hand down a verdict in a landmark murder trial on Wednesday involving Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other party members over the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013.

Fyssas’s murder outside a cafe in an alleged ambush by presumed Golden Dawn supporters shocked the country and opened the way to an unprecedented investigation into the group’s operations.

Michaloliakos is one of nearly 70 defendants who each face between five to 20 years in prison over the 2013 killing and other alleged crimes by Golden Dawn members.

The main charge against them is participation in a criminal organization, but there have also been a host of other indictments related to murder and assault.

A Holocaust denier and protege of Greece’s former dictator Georgios Papadopoulos, Michaloliakos has consistently maintained his innocence.

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