Greece to take rotating presidency of Holocaust group

ATHENS, Greece — Greece will assume the rotating presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance next month, the foreign ministry says, as yet another Jewish memorial was vandalized overnight.

Foreign ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou says Athens will take over the IHRA presidency on April 1.

“We attach particular importance” to the event, he says, adding that Greece’s first-ever IHRA presidency will focus on education.

Anti-Semitism remains a problem in Greece, whose Jewish community was nearly wiped out during the Holocaust.

The central board of Jewish communities in Greece says a recently completed mural about the Jews of Thessaloniki, 50,000 of whom were exterminated in Nazi death camps, had been vandalized.

In October, several Jewish cemeteries and a Holocaust memorial had also been vandalized after the leaders of Greek neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn were jailed in a landmark trial.

Interior Minister Makis Voridis in 2019 denied anti-Semitic beliefs after a prominent Greek Jewish official said he had a “dark past.”

A self-styled nationalist, Voridis said he had “never been an anti-Semite, though he had “coexisted politically with people who had such unacceptable ideas.”

He is one of at least three former prominent members of the far-right LAOS party to be given posts in the ruling New Democracy party.

Development minister Adonis Georgiadis is also a former LAOS cadre and lawmaker.

Greece has in recent years pursued close ties with Israel as a counter to regional rivals Turkey.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis — whose father first formalized relations with Israel as prime minister in 1990 — last month visited Jerusalem for a tourism deal.

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