Desecrated tombstones of a Jewish cemetery (Illustrative).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Polish police opened an investigation into the actions of two women who struck what observers said were provocative poses while standing next to headstones in a Jewish cemetery.
The investigation, which was opened this week, follows a complaint by the international commemoration group From the Depths to the Polish State Prosecutor regarding photos that surfaced online of the two women. They are suspected of violating a Polish law against offending religious sentiment at a place of worship or holy site.
One undated picture shows an open-mouthed, young woman wearing a black leather coat while pressing her chest and one of her thighs to an ornate Jewish headstone. The other, dated in 2012, shows another young woman standing on a headstone while wearing a very short mini skirt and a belt emblazoned with the word “Jesus.”
Following the complaints, Polish media, including the tabloid Fakt
and the news website of the the RMF24 radio station
, reproduced the pictures and reported on From the Depths’ complaint.
According to Fakt, at least one of the pictures was taken at a Jewish cemetery near Kalisz in central Poland.
“We don’t believe this behavior was an attack or necessarily anti-Semitic but it is symptomatic of disrespect and indifference to Jewish heritage sites in Poland,” said Jonny Daniels, founder of From the Depths. “Poland has thousands of Jewish cemeteries – possibly more than Jewish citizens. They will not be preserved unless the population treats them with respect. Today it’s a stupid picture, tomorrow it’s a stupid act of vandalism.”