Monday, December 28, 2009

Greece: Ioannina Christians Rally to Protect Jewish Cemetery

Greece: Ioannina Christians Rally to Protect Jewish Cemetery
by Samuel D. Gruber

(ISJM) On December 18, 2009, Greek Christians in the northern city of Ioannina united in an unprecedented demonstration against anti-Semitism and in recognition of the Jewish heritage of their city. As I wrote in July, the cemetery has been the repeated target of vandalism with three attacks this year.

In recent years the municipality has also made attempts to assume control over parts of the cemetery property.

Ioannina, Greece. Grave desecrated on June 2, 2009. Photo: KIS

According to Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulis, the demonstration "was organized by the Christian citizens of the city and was heralded as a “a human chain against racism.” The cemetery was surrounded by the citizens of Ioannina to show their support for the Jewish community of the city and to publicly show their outrage at recent desecrations of Jewish tombstones."

A public exhibition was also held to highlighted the ancient Jewish presence in Ioannina "and the importance of the Jewish cemetery as a monument to the long Jewish presence in Ioannina."

"The committee that organized the public display of support made the following statement: “The Jewish cemetery is not only the religious space of the Jewish Community but, also, a cultural monument of our city, the protection of which, like other historical monuments of our city, is the duty of every citizen.”

The Jewish community of Ioannina was been the subject of a multi-media documentation project by Vincent Giordano, sponsored by ISJM.

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, Museum Director at Kehila Kedosha Janina (New York) has previously provided this blog with an account of the cemetery's history.

For more information about the Ioannina cemetery and all aspects of Jewish history of Ioannina and of its daughter community in the United States, contact:

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos
Museum Director
Kehila Kedosha Janina
280 Broome Street
NYC, NY 10002

No comments: