Greek Mayor Relents in Controversy Over Holocaust Monument

KAVALA, Greece (AP/Hamodia) -

Faced with blistering criticism over objecting to the presence of the Star of David on a monument dedicated to Holocaust victims, the mayor of Kavala, in northern Greece, told protesters Sunday that the dedication ceremony, originally set for this Sunday, will take place “very soon.”

Mayor Dimitra Tsanaka confirmed that councilors from her list had objected to the size and placement of the Star of David on a commemorative stone. She denied she shared the opinion or wanted the star removed, as the Central Board of Jewish Communities has alleged.

Dozens of protesters wearing yellow Stars of David gathered Sunday to denounce the ceremony’s postponement.

Greek media outlet Kathimerini reported that the Education Ministry’s general secretary, Giorgos Kalatzis, has voiced his regret over the initial decision — which was backed by the majority of the city’s municipal council — saying that Kavala risked being the first Greek city to turn down a monument raised for its own citizens.

“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 tombs of our grandfathers executed by the Germans,” he said.

The Board of Jewish Communities in Greece had also attacked the decision as “unacceptable, immoral and insulting.”

The memorial commemorates the arrest of 1,484 Jewish residents of Kavala in March 1943 and their deaths in the Treblinka extermination camp.