Anti-Semites Attack Jewish Graves in Greece and US

Anti-Semitic violence is being directed at Jewish graves, which were desecrated at historic cemeteries in Louisiana and in Greece.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 11:18

Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki
Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki
Israel news photo: courtesy of KIS

Anti-Semitic violence is being directed not only at live Jews, but at those who have passed from this world as well. Jewish graves were desecrated at historic cemeteries in Louisiana and in Greece.

Investigators in the town of Shreveport, Louisiana discovered over the weekend that nine headstones were overturned and broken at the Oakland Cemetery, a historic graveyard close to the downtown area.

Historian Gary Joiner and several Louisiana State University-Shreveport students had been carrying out a project to electronically catalog the historic graveyard. Instead, they were busy surveying the damage in the “Hebrew Rest” section of the cemetery early Sunday.

Due to the size of the stones, most dating back to 1873 when an outbreak of Yellow Fever killed a quarter of the town's residents, it was clear that more than one person was involved in the vandalism.

No arrests have been made in the incident. Suspects, if convicted, may face felony charges of property damage that could cost them a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison. Police Department spokesman Sgt. Bill Goodin added that the perpetrators could face hate crime charges as well.

Arson in Greek Cemetery
Meanwhile, the ancient cemetery of Thessaloniki in northern Greece was struck by anti-Semitic arsonists late last week. There are approximately 4,500 Jews left in the country.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) reported that a group of vandals used rags and gasoline to set fire to a tomb, and scrawled swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti, including “Fire to the Jews” and “Juden raus” on other grave stones, the pathways and the surrounding wall of the cemetery.

Three young men were arrested following a tip received by police.

“This attack is one more consequence directly related to the court decision to aquit [Kostas Plevris],” charged David Saltiel, president of KIS. Plevris is a neo-Nazi writer who the Central Board has accused of inciting acts of violence against the Greek Jews.

Saltield also blamed the vandalism on the country's recent Supreme Court decision to dismiss the “cassation in favor of the law" filed by the prosecutor against the acquittal verdict. "Our Board was not heard when it had warned of the deriving dangers,” Saltiel charged.