Swastikas on 80 gravestones desecrate French Jewish cemetery at German border

February 20, 2019 by JNS
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As many as 80 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in France were discovered vandalized on Tuesday morning, adding to the latest wave of antisemitic attacks in the country.

As many as 80 gravestones were vandalized at a French Jewish cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim, discovered on Feb. 19, 2019. Credit: Screenshot.

The cemetery, located in the village of Quatzenheim, near the border with Germany, was desecrated with swastikas painted on gravestones—one of which consisted of the words “Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe,” or “Black Alsacian Wolves,” a group that associated with neo-Nazis in the 1970s.

Jean-Luc Marx, the top security official in the Alsace region, where the cemetery is situated, condemned “in the strongest possible terms this awful antisemitic act and sends his complete support to the Jewish community which has been targeted again.”

French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the damage at the cemetery on Tuesday prior to visiting the Paris Holocaust memorial, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told RTL radio.

This development occurred hours ahead of marches nationwide against the latest antisemitic trend in France. Former French presidents Franςois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, who is Jewish, joined in solidarity.

On Saturday, protesters from the “yellow-vests” movement who have been demonstrating over recent months against Macron’s government, yelled antisemitic profanities at philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who was targeted with labels such as “dirty Zionist s***,” “Dirty Jew,” in addition to being told, “You’re a hater, you’re going to die, you’re going to hell.” Finkielkraut was guarded by police.

The previous day, two teenagers were apprehended after allegedly firing shots with an air rifle towards a Paris synagogue, injuring one Jewish gentleman. The motive was antisemitism, according to prosecutors.

Also part of the latest antisemitic wave includes a tree commemorating a young French Jewish man who was tortured to death in 2006 being cut off, the word “Juden” (German for “Jew”) scribbled on the window of a Paris bagel bakery, and swastikas drawn on Paris mailboxes decorated with a picture of former government minister and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, who died in 2017.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said last week that the number of recorded antisemitic acts soared by 74 % in 2018.

“It just doesn’t stop, it’s shock after shock,” Maurice Dahan, the regional head of the Israelite Central Consistory of France, told AFP after the cemetery attack. “I don’t know how long we are going to carry on. … It makes me feel sick.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented: “Today something shocking happened in France. Eighty Jewish graves were desecrated with Nazi symbols by wild anti-Semites.

I call on the leaders of France and Europe to take a strong stand against antisemitism. It is a plague that endangers everyone, not just us, and it must be condemned wherever and whenever it rears its head.”


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