Greece: Anti-racism law invoked in Jewish memorial vandalism

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THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — A prosecutor in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki has ordered an urgent investigation into the destruction by unknown vandals of a local Jewish memorial.

Prosecutor Evangelos Zarkantzias instructed police Monday to treat the attack on a monument marking a former Jewish cemetery as a breach of Greece’s laws against racism, which carry harsher penalties than ordinary vandalism.

The University of Thessaloniki, on whose campus the monument stood, said it would be rebuilt. Greece has strongly criticized the attack, and a protest Monday at the site was attended by government officials and Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris.

The centuries-old cemetery was razed during the World War II German occupation of Greece, and the university built on its site. Thessaloniki’s large Jewish community was almost entirely wiped out by Nazi forces.

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