BERLIN (Feb. 28)
Vandals have severely damaged a memorial at the former Nazi concentration camp of Woebbelin, leaving behind a pig’s head as a grisly calling card.
On Tuesday night, police also found pigs’ heads in two other nearby locations in the former East German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern — at a Jewish cemetery in Boizenberg and at a memorial in Raben Steinfeld.
At the cemetery, vandals also painted Nazi symbols on an entry gate and on a gravestone.
In Raben Steinfeld, a pig’s head was found on a memorial created in 1973 in memory of 30,000 prisoners who were forced on a death march from the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, near Berlin.
Police have offered a reward of about $900 for information leading to an arrest.
At the memorial in Woebbelin, the vandals gouged holes in a 42-year-old sandstone relief depicting the death march of concentration camp prisoners. They also painted a 4-foot-high red swastika and the words “Jud” — Jew — and “Luege” — lie — on the stone.
Woebbelin was the site of one of the last concentration camps created by the Nazis. A satellite of the camp at Neuengamme, it was built in the last weeks of World War II.
The relief in memory of its victims had been restored seven years ago for about $25,000.
The memorial’s director, Edeltraut Schure, as well as survivors of the Woebbelin camp, expressed shock after hearing of the vandalism.
Survivor Gyula Trebitsch, now a TV producer in Hamburg, told the newspaper Die Welt that the news was “horrifying and terrible.”
Schure told reporters that it was very unlikely that the artist who created the memorial, 72-year-old Jo Jastram, would be able to restore it.