A Jewish cemetery in the French city of Lyon was desecrated over the weekend, the latest of a series of recent attacks on Jewish graveyards in Western Europe.
Some 20 monuments were daubed with anti-Semitic slogans, but no stones were broken. A cemetery guard discovered the vandalism early Sunday morning.
“To Hitler, our father” and “Death to the dirty Jews” were some of the slogans pasted on the wall of the cemetery and on some of the graves.
The Jewish community was particularly shocked because the vandals chose to desecrate three graves of infants. The cemetery, one of the oldest in this area of southeastern France, dates back to 1794.
Michel Noir, the mayor of Lyon, joined close to 1,000 persons who gathered in front of the cemetery Sunday afternoon to demonstrate against the desecration.
Two weeks ago, some 200 headstones were overturned and about 60 were broken in the Jewish cemetery of Herrlisheim, in the Alsace region in eastern France.
Not far from there, the synagogue of Saint-Avoid was torched by a man the French authorities described as “an outcast,” who confessed to hating Jews and capitalists.
Jews in France are concerned that racial and anti-Semitic incidents are spilling over the border from Germany. Similar worries have been expressed by the Jews of Italy, who have also suffered recent anti-Semitic incidents that seem to have a neo-Nazi base.
Last week, anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas were found scrawled on graves in the Jewish section of the cemetery at San Remo on the Italian Riviera.