Wiesenthal Centre to Greek Prime Minister: "Failure to Stop Nazi Olympics Validates our Ongoing Travel Advisory"

WIESENTHAL CENTRE TO GREEK PRIME MINISTER:
"FAILURE TO STOP NAZI OLYMPICS VALIDATES OUR ONGOING TRAVEL ADVISORY"

Paris, 2 September 2005

In a letter to Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis, the Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Affairs, Dr Shimon Samuels, noted that "on 16-18 September, Greece will receive extreme right leaders from across Europe, along with their neo-Nazi/ Skinhead retinue - a so-called 'First Pan-European youth camp' billed as a self-styled three day "hate-festival" and ideological recruitment seminar in the Peloponnese region of 'Hellas, the Land of Heroes.'"

Samuels added that, "hosted by the Greek Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn), the co-organizers include the German NPD, the Italian Forza Nuova, and Spain's Falange", pointing to the comment in Golden Dawn's June newssheet, "Resistance and Counterattack", that calls World War Two "a civil conflict in which the European nations slaughtered one another, with greater losses for both sides than the 'millions' of ever persecuted crooked noses from Judea."

The letter identified as scheduled speakers NPD chief Udo Voigt and Forza Nuova's Roberto Fiore, who are to set the anti-Muslim tone with the slogan "Turkey Out of Europe". The organizer's website (www.euro-fest.tk) invites racist music groups and their fans from across the continent for a "Hatewave Festival Concert" coordinated by "White power 2005".

The letter also stressed that "for the last three years, our Centre has appealed to your authorities to condemn and penalize the burgeoning level of antisemitic media invective and desecration of Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials across Greece. The deafening silence of the response resulted in our Travel Advisory recommending that Jewish travelers to your country take extreme precautions."

Samuels referred to his participation, on 18 September 2004, in the ECRI (European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance) Athens Round Table on Racism and Xenophobia in Greece, describing the ECRI Report testimony from Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Pakistani and Roma victims of racial discrimination as a "disturbing context to our own inventory of antisemitism". The Centre suggested that "the choice of Greece for this Nazi/ Fascist assembly seems hardly a coincidence. Years of tolerance for hate have fertilized the ground for their welcome."

Samuels saluted a 31 August meeting of sixty anti-racists in Kalamata, declaring that, "our over 400,000 worldwide membership stands in solidarity with these trade unionists, school teachers and local activists, determined to keep the Peloponnese free from this pestilence".

The Centre called on the Prime Minister "to prevent this profanation of the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, and to draw its lessons by ensuring Greek commitments to the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, to prosecute all incitement to hatred." The letter concluded, "it is not too late to stop Europe's Nazi Olympics on Greek soil; failure to do so will render the Wiesenthal Centre's ongoing Travel Advisory ever more valid."

For further information, please contact Dr. Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58