‘Jews out’ scrawled on monument for synagogue in Poland destroyed by Nazis


(JTA) — A monument commemorating a synagogue that Nazis destroyed in what today is Poland was vandalized with an anti-Semitic slur and far-right imagery written in German.

The incident occurred earlier this month in Zielona Góra, a city in western Poland that was under German control from 1871 until 1945. Unidentified individuals wrote “Jude raus,” German for “Jew out,” on a stone slab commemorating the synagogue that Nazis burned down in 1938. They also crossed out a Star of David on the same slab and drew a Celtic cross, a well-known white supremacist symbol, on an adjacent plaque, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

In a separate incident, unidentified individuals smashed windows of a sepulcher that was built in 2016 around the grave of a well-known rabbi, the Tzadik of Ostrowiec, Meir Yechiel HaLevi. Known for his asceticism and knowledge of Hasidic Jewish sources, as well as mathematics and physics, he led the 11,000-strong Jewish community of Ostrowiec Swiętokrzyski in southern Poland for 39 years until his death in 1928. It was wiped out by the Nazis in 1939.

In a third incident, police in London arrested a Polish man who is suspected of two counts of arson and anti-Semitic vandalism of a house owned by a Jewish family in Stamford Hill, a heavily Jewish and haredi Orthodox part of the British capital. The man was illegally occupying the house, according to a statement last week by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism watchdog.

Inside the apartment, he drew hundreds of Stars of David and the number 666, which in Christian numerology is used to refer to Satan, according to the statement.

The incidents occurred amid a polarizing debate in Poland and beyond about legislation that the country’s president signed and finalized last week that criminalizes accusing the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. Opponents of the bill say it whitewashes the alleged complicity of Poles in the Holocaust.

In an unusual statement, the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw said the debate unleashed online a “wave of anti-Semitic attacks against us and Ambassador Anna Azari.”

Recommended from JTA