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March 19, 2013

Washington Jewish Week: Ancient hatred, new threats

Op-ed by Elisa Massimino.

Recently a lawmaker in Greece’s national parliament denounced his government’s call for Greeks to observe a day of commemoration, calling it “unacceptable.” The target of his ire? A measure calling on state institutions to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

This wasn’t a random act by a fringe politician. Yiannis Lagos is a member of Golden Dawn, a political party which last year exploited the economic crisis to win 7 percent of the vote in national elections. Its power is growing. Headed by Nikos Michaloliakos — who uses the Nazi salute and denies that Auschwitz had gas chambers — Golden Dawn is the third most popular party in a country that suffered terribly under Nazi rule during World War II. There are similar developments in Hungary and Ukraine, where far right-wing parties Jobbik and Svoboda are staging a steady rise to power.

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