NEW YORK, May 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC just learned from our partner organization, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), that municipal officials in Kavala have canceled a ceremony scheduled for May 17th to unveil a monument to the 1,484 Jews from the city exterminated by the Nazis. Only two days before the ceremony, the mayor and a majority of the city council are insisting that the image of the Star of David be removed before the monument can be displayed.
"There are no words to express adequately our shock and dismay at this news," said AJC Executive Director David Harris, who has visited Greece frequently over the past three decades.
"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!"
"We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Greek Jewish community, and indeed with all Greeks who are as outraged as we are, by this brazen insult to the memory of Greek citizens who were arrested, deported, and murdered simply because they were Jews. In this respect, we applaud the Greek Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs, Giorgos Kalantzis, who said in response to the news from Kavala: '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.'
"Let us hope that reason quickly prevails," Harris concluded, "and that Kavala's city officials reconsider and reverse their appalling decision."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee