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French Jewish cemetery vandalized

PARIS (JTA) — Vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg was discovered on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Some 30 gravestones were vandalized, including 18 painted with swastikas and 13 overturned, in Cronenbourg, a neighborhood in the northeastern French town of Strasbourg, according to the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF and the Jewish Community Protection Service.

The German phrase "Juden Raus," or “Jews, out,” also was written on one tomb.

The vandalism was discovered Wednesday, but police have not yet determined when the attack took place.

Laurent Schmoll, president of the approximately 1,000-member Jewish community in Strasbourg, told reporters that he believed the cemetery was defiled in connection with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is being observed Wednesday.

“These are absolutely inscriptions from the Nazi period," Schmoll said. "At the moment we celebrate the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, and I think there has to be a link.”

CRIF researcher Marc Knobel said it was too early to tell why the tombs were defiled, but that one reason could have been to “mark the day.”

Strasbourg Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti in the past. Knobel said it wasn’t the first time that the cemetery vandalism and other anti-Semitic incidents have occurred on Jan. 27, the day set aside by the United Nations to remember the Holocaust and its victims.

He added that it must have taken the vandals time to turn over the tombs, and noted that the cemetery is not equipped with video surveillance cameras.
 

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