BERLIN (JTA) — German police are investigating an arson attack that damaged the funeral chapel of a Jewish cemetery in Dresden.
The fire at the New Jewish Cemetery was discovered early Sunday morning by a passing cyclist, who alerted the police and fire department. The blaze was quickly extinguished. Damages to the chapel’s heavy oak doors are estimated at about $6,300.
The cemetery dates back to 1869, and the mourning hall had been used for religious services until 2001, when the city’s new synagogue was dedicated. Dresden’s Jewish population is estimated at below 1,000.
According to the DPA German news agency, police in the former East Germany city suspect a political motivation.
German government statistics show that a Jewish cemetery in the country is vandalized every 10 days.
In May, authorities increased protection for Jewish institutions in the former West German state of Rheinland-Pfalz after an arson attack on the historic synagogue in Worms, which dates back to the year 1034.