A Greek politician angered the local Jewish community after he posted an image of the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp with its infamous “Arbeit macht frei” sign altered to read, "We're staying in Europe", the Independent reported on Thursday.
The parliamentarian, Dimitris Kammenos, posted the image on his Facebook page, according to the report.
The slogan "We're staying in Europe" was used at recent pro-Europe rallies in Athens. Greece is mired in an ongoing financial crisis and is currently in talks with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on a bailout.
Kammenos is an MP with the Independent Greeks party, a coalition partner in the Greek government. He is no relation of the party's founder and president, Panos Kammenos, noted the Independent.
Panos Kammenos has been previously accused of anti-Semitism himself, after he alleged in December that Jews enjoyed preferential tax treatment in Greece.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece called the photograph "shameful" and a "malevolent trivialization" of the Holocaust.
The group said in a statement the photo “trivializes in the most hideous way the sign over the gate of Auschwitz.”
“We call upon the President of the Greek Parliament and the representatives of all democratic parties to condemn the malevolent trivialization of the Holocaust of the 6 million Jews and all the victims of this barbarity, a trivialization that at the same time downplays the importance of the struggle against Fascism and Nazism in our country,” it said.
Meanwhile, Marina Chrysoveloni, an Independent Greeks spokeswoman, said Kammenos's move had been an "utterly personal action" and had nothing to do with the party.
Kammenos apologized for posting the photograph and the image was not publicly available on his Facebook page on Thursday, but he appeared not entirely to back down.
"Maybe the comparison was unfortunate but my country is experiencing an economic holocaust," he wrote on Facebook, according to the report.
Greek Jews expressed concern for the relations between Israel and Greece after the last elections, which saw the Syriza party take power. Two members of Tsipras’s Syriza party had been aboard the Mavi Marmara flotilla which attempted to break the "siege on Gaza" in 2010.
The fact that Independent Greeks had joined the coalition was cause for concern as well given its leader’s past statements.
Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, later assured the Israeli ambassador to Athens that Greek-Israeli relations will not change following his election.
Tsipras noted his government is determined to combat anti-Semitism in Greece and that it will continue to prosecute the leaders of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.