AMSTERDAM (Aug. 12)
Holland has reacted with shock to the neo-Nazi desecrations of more than 200 graves of Allied soldiers who fell during World War II.
Right-wing extremists Tuesday spray-painted neo-Nazi graffiti on the graves in the Allied Military Cemetery near Nijmegen, which is close to the German border.
The incident occurred just one month before the 49th anniversary of an ill-fated Allied attempt to cross the Rhine over a German-held bridge near Nijmegen — a battle made famous in the film “A Bridge Too Far.”
In the cemetery were buried the 1,642 Allied soldiers who lost their lives in the battle for the liberation of Nijmegen in February 1945.
The tombstones were painted with swastikas and slogans in English, Dutch and German saying “Heil Hitler,” “White Power” and “Foreigners Get Out.”
A stone bearing the legend “Their Names Live Forevermore” had also been spray-painted.
A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in England described this as the worst desecration in over 20 years.
Hundreds of people from across the Netherlands gathered in the rain at the cemetery Thursday to protest the desecration.
Local citizens of Nijmegen put the blame on neo-Nazi thugs from across the border, but some spelling mistakes in the German graffiti have cast doubts on the theory.
A team of 12 policemen are attempting to track down the vandals, but officials say they have no leads so far.