‘Death to Jews,’ Swastikas on Jewish Gravesites in Europe

This picture taken on December 4, 2019, shows the jewish Westhoffen cemetery near Strasbourg, eastern France, where 107 graves were found vandalised with swastikas and antisemitic inscriptions. (Photo by Patrick HERTZOG / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images

Two cemeteries in Europe were reported to have been vandalized Thursday — the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the world in the German city of Worms and another in southern France, whose gravestones were vandalized with swastikas and the words “Death to Jews” and “Death to the French.”

At least 50 gravestones in the medieval Jewish cemetery in Worms were smeared with a greenish paint, the city said in a statement, adding the incident was a “slap in the face” for the German city.

One of the vandalized gravesites belonged to Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, known as the Maharam, a prominent rabbi who died in 1293, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

The cemetery draws thousands of Jewish visitors every year.

The statement added the cemetery would be closed for a week while attempts would be made to clear the paint.

“We do not yet know what material the paint is made of and how we can remove the smears without damaging the valuable tombstones,” Mayor Hans-Joachim Kosubek said in the statement “According to initial findings, the main gravestones in the medieval part of the cemetery are affected, the rocks of which are particularly sensitive due to their age.”

Meanwhile, the Gruissan municipal cemetery in the Aude region of southern France was closed this week after swastikas and inflammatory slogans were sprayed on gravestones.

The National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, or BNVCA, said the act of “aggression surprises and scandalizes us.”

 

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