Jewish groups were infuriated by a Greek town’s demand that the Star of David to be removed from a new Holocaust memorial or they will not permit its display.
The American Jewish Committee said Friday that its partner body in Greece, the Central Board of Jewish Communities, reported that municipal authorities in the Greek port of Kavala had canceled a May 17 ceremony unveiling the memorial.
A Star of David is engraved into the monument. The authorities want the ancient Jewish symbol, which also features on the Israeli flag, removed before they allow the memorial’s display.
“How can it be that the eternal symbol of the Jewish people — the very symbol that the Nazis required Jews to wear in the death camps and ghettos of Europe during the Second World War — is deemed unfit for public display in Kavala?” AJC’s executive director, David Harris, said in a statement.
The memorial commemorates the 1,484 Jews in the northern city murdered by the Nazis.
“The mayor and the City Council have insulted the memory of victims, the Greek Jewish community, and Jews around the world, and we join with the Greek Jewish community in voicing our outrage,” Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, said in a statement.
The AJC statement quoted the Greek minister of culture, education and religious affairs as blasting the Kavala municipal authorities.
“As an Orthodox Christian, I feel deeply insulted by this issue, because it would be as if someone asked us to erase or modify for ‘aesthetic reasons’ the symbol of the cross on the tombs of our grandfathers executed by the Germans,” the statement quoted Giorgos Kalantzis as saying.