(JNS.org) A Greek town is mired in controversy after its mayor asked to remove the Star of David from a Holocaust memorial before it could be unveiled.
The mayor of Kavala, Dimitra Tsanaka, asked for the Jewish symbol to be removed after a majority vote on the issue by the city council. Tsanaka originally said that members of the council objected to the size and placement of the symbol on the memorial, but she later denied that she had ever wanted the star removed.
The Jewish community and members of the Greek community at large expressed outrage at this request. The Board of Jewish Communities in Greece said the decision was "unacceptable, immoral, and insulting.”
"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?" said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that “to object to a Star of David on the monument is morally reprehensible.”
“Kavala’s Jews were killed because they were Jews, and the value of a monument is to make that fact demonstrably clear," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. "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.”
Greek Media and Culture Minister Giorgos Kalantzis said that “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.”
Tsanaka said that the memorial’s dedication ceremony, which was originally scheduled for this Sunday, will take place "very soon."