Greeks Hope To Blunt Rise of Golden Dawn

Neo-Nazi Party Dwarfs Tiny Jewish Community

Rising Hatred: As the European economic crisis intensifies, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn won 6% of the seats in Greece’s parliament.
getty images
Rising Hatred: As the European economic crisis intensifies, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn won 6% of the seats in Greece’s parliament.

By JTA

Published November 01, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, denies there were gas chambers or ovens at Nazi death camps and has a penchant for giving the Nazi salute. Statements from the party refer to Israel as a “Zionist terror state.” Party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who made international headlines when he punched a female Communist Party member in the face during a live television debate, recently read out a passage from the anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in parliament.

“We must react to everything they do against the Jews,” David Saltiel, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told JTA. “We protest, we fight in every instance where there are displays of anti-Semitism and will not let ourselves fall down. We take every measure we can within the spirit of democracy.”

The Greek Jewish community is also trying to maintain a dialogue with the government and mainstream political parties and urging them to take a stronger stand, according to Saltiel.

Outside Jewish groups are stepping in, too. In response to the rise of Golden Dawn, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which assists Greece’s 500 Holocaust survivors, has begun funding the Greek Jewish museum’s traveling exhibition on anti-Semitism.

“For survivors that went through what these people went through during the war, many of whom were saved by the underground efforts of other Greeks, they never expected that in their lifetime they would see Greek support for a Nazi-like party,” said the Claims Conference’s chairman, Julius Berman. “There must be complete horror.”

Golden Dawn’s political ascendance has been fast and furious, propelled by a Greek public weary of five years of economic depression, massive unemployment and what they see as Greece’s international humiliation and its betrayal by the politicians who got them into this mess. Similar factors led to Hitler’s rise in Weimar Germany, some have noted.

For years, Golden Dawn had lingered as a tiny party on the fringes of society. In the 2009 elections, the party won just 0.29 percent of the vote. But in elections in May and a do-over in June, the party captured just under 7 percent of the vote. Its popularity has been growing ever since.

Given the relatively small size of the country’s Jewish community, Jewish leaders are aware that their efforts may appear like a drop in an ocean of hate and that they alone cannot fight Golden Dawn’s rise.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.