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Polish president condemns cemetery vandalism

Poland’s president decried the recent desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa.

“This act of aggression is unusually shocking, especially because the Czestochowa graveyard belongs to one of the most impressive Jewish cemeteries in Poland,” Lech Kaczynski wrote in a letter to the head of the Jewish cultural and social association of Czestochowa, Halina Wasilewicz, on Wednesday.

Kaczynski went on to say that the “act of hate serves not only an act of aggression against the place and respect for the dead, but against the heritage of Czestochowa, against the common history of its Polish and Jewish residents.”

In the desecration discovered Sunday in the southern Polish town, 100 headstones were marked with graffiti, including swastikas, “Jews Out” in German and a Star of David in a noose. Municipal authorities immediately embarked on a cleanup of the spray-painted stones. The cemetery, which has some 4,500 graves, is one of Poland’s largest Jewish burial sites.

There were 40,000 Jews in Czestochowa before World War II, one third of the town’s population, of which 5,000 survived the Holocaust. About 100 Jews now live there.

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