German Jewish Council to Sue Man Who Defaced Leader’s Grave

The Central Council of Jews in Germany is planning to sue the Israeli man who poured black paint into the open grave of ex-council President Ignatz Bubis in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

The lawsuit against Meir Mendelssohn was expected to have been filed in a Frankfurt court by the end of the week, according to Michel Friedman, a member of the council.

According to a Reuters report, Mendelssohn, whose act was barely noticed during the funeral, called Bubis a “bad man” who used sympathy for his Jewishness in post-Holocaust Germany to make real estate deals.

“We decided to sue on behalf of the Central Council and the family” for his comments about Bubis, said Paul Spiegel, Central Council vice president.

“It is unacceptable that some crazy person could dirty the name and the person of a man like Ignatz Bubis. Mr. Bubis did not deserve it.”

Friedman said that in addition to suing Mendelssohn for defamation, the plaintiffs are asking the court to fine Mendelssohn for each repetition of the offending statements.

“He has been repeating these responses for two days now, but he has said nothing substantial and now I think it is enough,” said Friedman, adding that Bubis was like a father to him. “He was one of the last people out of my past. I lost my mother and my father, two and three years ago, and that’s it.”

Friedman is a Frankfurt lawyer whose family was close to Bubis.

Mendelssohn, who left Israel for Germany after the incident, could not be reached for comment, though he has called the media from undisclosed locations.

According to the Reuters report, Mendelssohn said he had promised Bubis before his death that he would desecrate his gravesite. Reuters has released a videotape in which a black stream of paint is visible entering the grave. Israeli police have expressed interest in the tape as evidence.

German government spokesperson Uwe-Karsten Heye called the attack an “irony of history,” because Bubis had said he would not want to be buried in Germany, fearing his grave would be defaced like the Berlin tomb of his predecessor as president of the council, Heinz Galinski.

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