Two Youths Confess to Vandalizing Switzerland’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery

Two 11-year-old boys have confessed to the desecration last month of more than 100 gravestones at Switzerland’s oldest Jewish cemetery, in Zurich, police there announced.

A police spokesman said the desecration should not be taken lightly and brushed off as “nasty kids’ games.”

He noted that in Germany, extreme rightwing groups use young boys to commit acts of violence.

On June 17, 144 tombstones were overturned at the cemetery. It was the second or perhaps third recent vandalism of the site. In February, 60 headstones were overturned, and it has recently been reported that the cemetery was also desecrated in March.

Repairs to the cemetery, which was opened in 1862, will cost some $30,000.

Meanwhile, other desecrations and assaults on Jews have taken place in Switzerland.

The latest vandalism of a Jewish cemetery took place in Argau, near Basel, where 11 tombstones were desecrated over the weekend.

Following several attacks on Jewish students, the head of the Zurich schools system, Hans Wehrli, sent a letter to parents and teachers.

In the letter, which was released to news media this week, Wehrli said that about a dozen Jewish teen-agers had been jeered and assaulted in Zurich during the past two months.

Appearing on Swiss television last Friday, Werner Rom, president of Zurich’s Jewish community, said the Swiss Jewish community is experiencing great anxiety over the mounting xenophobia in the country.

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