Escalating conflict in the Middle East has sparked concerns about a possible increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the Balkan region.
The incidents include the vandalism of murals dedicated to the Holocaust, and the painting of anti-Semitic slogans on public property.
In Greece, a mural commemorating the torture of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, was vandalised on Sunday. It is unknown who the perpetrators are.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece condemned the vandalism, and voiced concern over incidents of anti-Semitism in the days following the escalating conflict in the Middle East.
“Both the graffiti on the Holocaust mural, located at the new railway station in Thessaloniki and the damage caused to a Greek Jewish shop, are appalling. The era of tolerance for anti-Semitism is definitively over, and, neither in Greece nor in Europe, can free voices allow the return of pogroms against the Jews,” read a press release by the Board.
The mural was created in 2021, and is dedicated to the suffering of Jews in Thessaloniki during the Second World War. It was inspired by photographic material from the time.
The perpetrators of the incident smeared the mural, and wrote “Free Palestine Jews = Nazi” on it.
The mural had previously been vandalized by far-right extremists in 2021, who painted Nazi symbols on it.
Greek media reported that police and Greek secret services (EYP) are currently on high alert for potential terrorist attacks in the country due to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Attention is currently focused on Jewish monuments, synagogues, schools, places of worship, or places of historical interest, as well as on informal mosques and meeting places.
In Sarajevo, Bosnia, a girl held a picture that said “Please keep the world clean,” and depicted a figure putting an Israeli flag into a trash can.
Police did not respond to the incident. “Sarajevo Canton Police did not have any reports of incidents of any kind during the rally in Sarajevo,” police spokesperson Mersiha Novalic told reporters.’
Many Bosnians, however, condemned the incident on social media.
Standing with the civilians and children of Gaza and supporting them due to the catastrophe they are going through, as well as their constant exposure to rocket attacks and war crimes, is a humane and civilized act,” wrote journalist Almedin Sisic.
In Poland, a similar banner was carried by a Norwegian student studying at Warsaw University. The message was condemned by the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
“We Poles, due to the memory of those murdered during the Holocaust, can never tolerate any manifestations of anti–Semitism in any form whatsoever, and any sign of it arouses our deep indignation,” Duda said, “In Poland, there is no consent to express hatred against anyone.”
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