A Greek town that was the site of the murder of hundreds of Jews during the second World War has demanded that the Star of David be removed from the town’s Holocaust memorial, Haaretz is reporting.
Kavala, a small Greek fishing town on the Aegean Sea about 400 miles north and east of Athens, was the site of the murder of 1,484 Greek Jews at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust.
A memorial to the town’s Holocaust victims was set to be unveiled May 17, but the unveiling has been cancelled after it was learned that town officials wanted the Star of David – which appears on the flag of the modern-day nation of Israel – removed from the monument.
David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, said in remarks via The Algameiner that he is appalled at the Greek town’s demand.
“There are no words to express adequately our shock and dismay at the news. 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? What gall for the Jewish community to be asked to remove the Star of David as a condition for allowing the monument to be displayed!”
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, and himself a Holocaust survivor, is equally disgusted.
“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.”
Between 1940 and 1945, the Nazis occupied Greece, draining the country’s resources, forcing Greeks to starve, and systematically exterminating the country’s Jews, according to The Hellenic World Foundation. Earlier this year, Greece demanded payback, telling Germany that the country was owed 162 billion Euros (about $184 billion at current exchange rates).
Considering the amount of suffering the Greeks – and Greek Jews in particular – endured at the hands of the Nazis, Greek Culture Minister Giorgos Kalantzis was outraged at the demand to remove the Star of David.
“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.”
As of this post, it is not clear if the Star of David will be removed following the Greek town’s demands.