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Yiddish in Greece.

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05/15/2010


The Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, was desecrated Thursday night by a group of anti-Semites who used rags and gasoline to set fire to a tomb.

Vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery in the northern Greek city of late on Thursday 13.5.2010 and three youths were arrested for the attack, authorities said on Friday.

The assailants smeared graffiti in the cemetery. Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti reading “Fire to the Jews” and “Juden raus”  appeared on a number of tombstones, the alleys and the surrounding wall of the cemetery. . They left the cemetery with destroyed walls and destroyed graves.

Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have been the target of recent attacks in Greece. In January, arsonists attacked a synagogue in Chania on the island of Crete. Around 4,500 Jews live in Greece.


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SOURCE: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64D4ZB20100514 etc.

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Greek synagogue

damaged in arson attack

January 5, 2010

The only synagogue on the Greek Island of Crete sustained significant water and smoke damage in an anti-Semitic crime of maliciously setting fire to the building.

Some 30 antique Turkish carpets also were damaged when the Etz Hayyim synagogue in the city of Chania was set ablaze Tuesday night by unknown attackers. The synagogue’s Torah scrolls were not damaged. The arsonists reportedly climbed over the synagogue’s iron gate and made an improvised firebomb using stuffing from a couch in the synagogue’s mikveh to ignite a canister filled with flammable liquid, then placed the firebomb under the wooden staircase leading to the women’s section.

The upper floor of the women’s section serves as the office of the director, as well as a library and reading room. Among its volumes are valuable books in various languages on Ottoman, Byzantine and Jewish art and architecture.

http://www.etz-hayyim-hania.org/welcome.html

After the fire

An Albanian immigrant who lives near the synagogue saw the smoke and called the police and firefighters.

At approximately 12:20-1:00 AM on the night of the 5th January,
a serious attack was made on the fabric of the Synagogue.
One or two or even more individuals made their way into the
south garden of the synagogue by climbing over the iron gate.
Subsequent to this they set about making an improvised
incendiary device by tearing open a large Ottoman cushion
in the mikveh and then with the contents stuffed a canister
that was filled with some flammable liquid which was then
set afire under the wooden stair of the ezrat nashim.
(The upper floor of the women's section (ezrat nashim) serves
as the office of the director as well as a library and reading
room and contains valuable books in various languages on Ottoman,
Byzantine and Jewish art and architecture as well as resource
books on European and Near Eastern History from pre-historic
times as well as a large section on Cretan history.)

There is little security at the synagogue, according to reports. Situated in the heart of the Jewish quarter, the synagogue dates back to the late 15th century.

Also in the attack, a bar of soap was thrown against the outer wall of the synagogue to illustrate the common Greek anti-Semitic expression “I’ll make you into a bar of soap.”

The Walls of the historic Etz Hayyim synaogue in Chania was covered with soot following an arson attack on Jan. 5, 2010.

The anti-Semitic vandals who torched the historic Etz Hayyim synagogue in Chania, an ancient port on the Greek island of Crete, left no doubt about their motives.

After breaking into the building on the night of Jan. 5 and setting its interior alight, they threw a bar of soap against its outer wall.

A bar of soap? That’s because, explains the synagogue’s director, Nikos Stavroulakis, “I’ll make you into a bar of soap” is a common anti-Semitic taunt in Greece.

The bar of soap hurled against the desecrated synagogue in Chania was a diabolically mixed metaphor: Soap usually symbolizes purity and godliness, but in this twisted context it spelled hatred and death.

The attack on the Chania synagogue was not just an assault on a building. It was an assault on the ideals that had transformed the structure from a wrecked relic of Holocaust destruction to a new symbol of community and compassion.

Nikos Stavroulakis,is a remarkable man, who has devoted much of the past two decades to restoring a Jewish presence to a city made “Judenrein” by the Nazis.

He is an artist, author and scholar who had co-founded and directed the Jewish Museum in Athens, Stavroulakis had returned to live in his family’s rambling house in Chania after many years away.

The synagogue, which dates back to the 15th century, was in ruin. But over the next three years Stavroulakis made it his mission to raise funds and, with the help of the World Monuments Fund and other donors, oversee the building’s rebirth. His aim was to make it a living spiritual presence, not simply a restored reminder of the past.

The synagogue now functions as a museum, and it hosts exhibitions and cultural events.

It’s also an active house of worship. A small Havurah community whose members include Christians and some Muslims (and Jews of all persuasions) regularly assembles there to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

Stavroulakis himself leads daily prayers each morning, whether a minyan is present or not.

Prayers were held as usual at 9 a.m. Jan. 6, the morning after the arson attack. The fire had gutted a stairway, wreaked havoc on the synagogue library, and covered walls and precious furnishings with a thick layer of soot.

The synagogue in Chania
January 16, 2010.
The Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the Greek city of Hania on the island of Crete has been targeted by arsonists for the second time  in three weeks.
(The synagogue was nearly burned to the ground on January 6, in the previous attack.)
An number of people entered the building in the city of Hania, broke through a first-floor door and started a fire. The attack occurred around 4 a.m. 16.1.2010.
The fire destroyed the synagogue’s wooden ceiling, as well as many of its archives, computers and CDs. The nearly 300 members of the Hania Jewish community were shipped out by the Nazi invaders in 1944, and died when their ship was sunk in transit by an Allied torpedo. About 2,500 books, many of them rare editions, were destroyed in this and a previous arson attack three weeks ago.

The Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the Greek city of Hania on the island of Crete has been targeted by arsonists for the second time in three weeks. (The synagogue was nearly burned to the ground on January 6, in the previous attack.)An number of people entered the building in the city of Hania, broke through a first-floor door and started a fire. The attack occurred around 4 a.m. 16.1.2010.
The fire destroyed the synagogue’s wooden ceiling, as well as many of its archives, computers and CDs. The nearly 300 members of the Hania Jewish community were shipped out by the Nazi invaders in 1944, and died when their ship was sunk in transit by an Allied torpedo. About 2,500 books, many of them rare editions, were destroyed in this and a previous arson attack three weeks ago.

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