Sunday, 26 October 2008

Romania: desecration of Jewish cemetery

Source: EJP

"Around 200 tombstones and 100 monuments were desecrated Thursday in a Jewish cemetery in the south of Romania’s capital Bucharest.

Unknown vandals have knocked over and, in some cases, destroyed the headstones in the cemetery where at least 35,000 Jews are buried, including victims of the Holocaust. It took place during the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah.

The vandals also smashed windows in the administrative offices of the cemetery.

No anti-Semitic slogans were discovered on the destroyed tombstones, according to police.

Jewish leaders condemned the desecration and said the scale of the destruction suggested the activity was organized — rather than random acts by wayward youths.

Paul Schwartz, spokesman for Romania's Jewish community, called the desecration "the worst act of vandalism in the nation in recent times." (...)"
Romania has struggled to come to terms with its role in the Nazi extermination of Jews during WWII.

It denied any participation in the Holocaust until an international commission chaired by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel said in 2004 that Romanian authorities had killed up to 380,000 Jews in territories under their control. Under pro-Nazi Marshal Ian Antonescu, Romania became a German ally in 1940 but switched sides just before the war ended.

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