A worker removes antisemitic graffiti at a Jewish cemetery in France, March, 2019.
(photo credit: FRANCE 3 ALSACE AND THE LOWER RHINE CONSISTORY)
A Jewish cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim in eastern France, where nearly 100 gravestones were desecrated and spray painted with swastikas two weeks ago, has been restored and a prayer service was held at the site on Sunday.
Present at the service in Quatzenheim, which is close to Strasbourg, were the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg Rabbi Avraham Weill, Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries, several members of the national parliament and senate, and some 1,000 members of the public, including many non-Jewish residents of Quatzenheim (pop. 795) and the surrounding villages.
Weill said that it was very touching that so many members of the public came to the event in solidarity with the Jewish community, and said that many of them, including non-Jews, had been visibly emotional during the service.
Ries told Weill after the ceremony on Sunday that “any injury to the Jews is an injury to us,” and said that he was certain the perpetrators would be caught and brought to justice.
“We will do everything to find these contemptible people and we will not allow the fabric of our good relations with the Jewish community to be broken,” said the mayor.
Weill, who is also a member of the Council of European Rabbis' standing committee, said that the Jewish community was demanding greater efforts to stop the recent spate of antisemitic attacks.
“We cannot become used to these kinds of antisemitic attacks and the law enforcement authorities in France must deal with this is the most determined and speedy manner,” said the rabbi at the ceremony.
“We do not know why this dirty wave [of incidents] has arisen at this specific moment, and I am worried in my heart about what might happen today. What will come after the desecration of the graves and the memorial stone,” continued Weill.
In a fresh antisemitic incident, a memorial stone to the Synagogue du Quai Kléber in Strasbourg, which was burned to the ground by Nazis during World War II, was vandalized and toppled from its plinth on Friday night
According to Weill, the incident was without doubt a malicious and deliberate attack since the memorial stone weighs approximately two tons and cannot be moved by hand. It is also in a public square and cannot have been accidentally knocked by a passing vehicle since there is no vehicular access to the site.
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