(JTA) – A Jewish cemetery in Moldova was vandalized by unidentified individuals who painted a swastika on one of the headstones.
The Nazi symbol was discovered Monday at the cemetery in Chisinau, the capital of the East European country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the news website Point reported Wednesday.
Separately, last month hundreds of Jewish headstones were found at a military base near Chernivtsi in southwestern Ukraine during renovations, the Censor news website reported.
The headstones were discovered under a barrack’s wooden floor, according to the report. They had been removed from a nearby cemetery in the 1940s or 1950s, under communism. Rabbi Menachem Glisnshtain, a Chabad emissary serving in the Chernivtsi region, received a call from a Ukrainian army officer informing him about the find.
Glisnshtain took possession of the headstones for the local Jewish community, according to the report.
About a quarter of all Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe were destroyed during the Nazi and Soviet periods, according to Rabbi Isaac Schapira, the Israel-based founder and chairman of the board of the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, or ESJF. Eastern Europe has about 10,000 Jewish cemeteries, according to ESJF.
The bulk of the damage to Jewish cemeteries happened during World War II and under communism. But they are still being degraded today due to unregulated construction and vandalism.
In September, the construction of a state-funded sports complex in the town of Klimontow, Poland, was completed atop what activists say was a disused Jewish cemetery. Last year, a judge in Belarus cleared the way for the construction of apartments atop two former Jewish cemeteries in Gomel. And in Lithuania, the government is ignoring an international outcry over its plan to build a conference center on what used to be one Vilnius’ largest cemeteries, which the communists razed.