“Ban swastika so that by January 2014 Greek Presidency of UE Kasidiàris may be excluded from Parliament.”

Paris, 6 August 2013

In a letter to Greek President Karolos Papoulias, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew attention to the front page of the 4 August edition of the largest nation-wide circulation newspaper, Poto Thema, obtained from the Greek Helsinki Monitor. The photo featured the Spokesman and Golden Dawn Member of Parliament, Elias Kasidiàris, on his beach vacation last week.

Samuels stated that, “until now, Golden Dawn has been described as ‘extreme right’ or ‘neo-Nazi’. Yet neo-Nazi groups in other countries have taken care to use stylized symbols of the swastika. The beach photo shows it all. The XXL swastika on Kasidiàris’s arm is, arguably, the only such contemporary Nazi anatomy on any lawmaker in Europe.”

The letter continued, “Mr. President, as author of a study of the Greek resistance movement against the Nazis, you must feel pained that Greece—the ancient cradle of democracy—today counts Nazis in its Parliament,” adding “Golden Dawn not only menaces Jews, Roma and Gays as did its 1930’s German Nazi forebears. Its dark cloud hangs over every Greek, citizen or immigrant.”

Samuels argued that “the swastika is outlawed in Germany and, indeed, Berlin has expressed the wish to see it banned across the European Union.”

“As President, you stand above politics, but as Head of State, your role is central to symbolism and national honour.”

The Centre urged the President to “invoke the prestige of your office to launch moves to ban the swastika in your country.”

“Then perhaps, by the time Greece takes over the European Union Presidency on 1 January 2014, Mr. Kasidiàris with his tattooed arm may be excluded from Parliament, reserving that limb for ‘Sieg Heil’ salutes away from the public domain”, concluded Samuels.