A Jewish group in Greece has condemned the leader of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party over comments he made about Holocaust in a TV interview.
The leader of right wing party
Nikos Michaloliakos told Greece's Mega TV channel in an interview shown Sunday that "there were no gas chambers and ovens [crematoria] in Auschwitz," said the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, or KIS.
Golden Dawn won 21 seats in the country's May 6 parliamentary elections, after winning almost 7% of the vote. Two years ago, it commanded only 0.28% support. Some members of this ultranationalist party, who woe to combat illegal immigration, has also been linked to street violence and new-Nazism.
In a statement, KIS urged the Greek government to "condemn and isolate the forces seeking the revival of the darkest ideology of the European history," saying Michaloliakos' position was an affront to the Greek people.
"It is an insult to the historical memory, the memory of the 6 million Jews, our brethren, amongst whom there were 70,000 Greek Jews, who perished in the death camps of Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka and the other sites of the extermination factory founded by Adolf Hitler," KIS said in a statement.
"It is an insult toward the survivors, who are still alive to bear witness of this atrocity. It is an insult toward all those who fought against the Nazis. It is an insult to the history of Greece, the sacrifices of the Greek people and the struggle to defend the principles of freedom, democracy and humanism."
Greek government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis condemned Michaloliakos' remarks in a statement Monday as "a distortion of history and a fierce insult to the memory of the millions of Holocaust victims."
Greece has been in a state of political turmoil since the elections, which saw voters fleeing the moderate parties blamed for backing harsh austerity measures for parties to the far left and far right of the political spectrum.
The country faces fresh elections after repeated attempts to form a coalition government ended in failure Tuesday.
The political instability has raised the possibility that Greece will fail to make debt payments as early as next month, potentially forcing the country out of the euro, the currency used by 17 European Union countries.
Matthew Feldman, director of the Radicalism and New Media Research Group at the University of Northampton, in Britain, says far-right groups are seeing resurgence in parts of Europe.
Instead of open racial attacks, they play up a threat to national identity and criticize multiculturalism, particularly as it relates to Islam, he said.