Shock and Outrage over Greek Town’s Demand that Star of David Be Removed from Holocaust Museum

The museum's opening has been postponed until further notice.

The Mayor of Kavala, Greece and City Council officials demanded the Star of David be removed. Photo via: The TOC
The Mayor of Kavala, Greece and City Council officials demanded the Star of David be removed.
Photo via: The TOC

Greek officials in the town of Kavala demanded that the Star of David be removed from a monument outside of a new holocaust memorial museum, two days before its opening, Free Beacon reports.

The council’s request meant that the museum–which was supposed to unveil the memorial with an official ceremony on May 17–was effectively forced to postpone its opening.

The memorial museum was built to commemorate the arrest and transportation from Kavala to Treblinka of 1,484 Jews by the Nazis in 1943 during WWII.

The last-minute cancellation came after Greek officials demanded that the Jewish Star of David “be removed before the monument can be displayed,” according to the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which was alerted to the case by its partner organization in the region, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

The Mayor of Kavala, Dimitra Tsanaka, confirmed that members of her council had objected to the “size and placement” of the Jewish symbol, according to Fox News.

However, representatives from the museum and the council say that they intend to go ahead with the opening “very soon.”

“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.

“There are no words to express adequately our shock and dismay at this news,” said AJC executive director David Harris in a statement issued by the group.

“How can it be that the eternal symbol of the Jewish people […] is deemed unfit for public display in Kavala?” he asks. “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!”

Harris has urged Greek officials to immediately reconsider their decision to object to the memorial. Other groups have joined in expressing their outrage, and the Greek central government has officially condemned the town officials’ demands.

Greek minister of culture, education, and religious affairs Giorgos Kalantzis is quoted in the AJC statement 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,” Kalantzis says in the statement.


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