Tarnow Jewish Cemetery wall vandalized with antisemitic graffiti

This comes just weeks after the cemetery was restored and reopened following a two-year renovation of the site.

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July 22, 2019 19:27
2 minute read.
Tarnow Jewish Cemetery wall vandalized with antisemitic graffiti

The Jewish Cemetery in Tarnow, Poland. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)

One month after the Jewish cemetery in Tarnow, Poland was rededicated, its wall has been vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.

In a statement, Jewish Heritage Europe posted a photograph of the graffiti, which read: “Jews eat children, Jadowniki eats Jews.”

Jadowniki is a village located close to Tarnow in southern Poland.

The Committee for the Protection of Jewish Heritage in Tarnow called on residents to join a clean-up of the antisemitic graffiti, which organized for Monday morning, “in order to paint over the slogans.”

The committee said that it believes “that the majority of Tarnów residents, like us,… oppose all forms of hooliganism, boorishness, antisemitism, or any discrimination and humiliation of other people, their origin, appearance, sex, age, etc.

“Let us show that in our city, there is no place for this type of acts of hooliganism,” it added.

The Tarnow cemetery was rededicated and reopened on June 26 after a two-year-long restoration.

Jewish Heritage Europe explained at the time that the cemetery underwent a full “restoration and indexing of gravestones, repair and rebuilding of its wall, and the opening of a permanent exhibition in the former pre-burial hall.

The work, done under the supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of Poland, included the installation of sidewalks, cleaning away decades of brush and vegetation, and restoring toppled and eroded tombstones, as well as a Holocaust monument.

The cemetery, which contains some 3,000 graves, dates back to the 17th century, with the oldest legible gravestone dating from 1688.

For hundreds of years, Tarnow was home to thousands of Jews with the first mention of Jews living in the town being in the 15th century.

At the start of World War II, there were some 25,000 Jews living in the city making up almost half of its population. The entire community was either deported to concentration camps, death camps or murdered during the Holocaust. The city’s synagogues were destroyed, leaving the cemetery as the only remnant of Tarnow’s once rich Jewish life.

Following the restoration, NGO Friends of Jewish Heritage in Poland said that this was “the largest cooperative public-private single Jewish cemetery restoration effort conducted in Poland.”

The restoration cost €700,000 funded by “the EU, and state, regional and local authorities, and private donors.”

In 2015, the wall of the Jewish cemetery was also vandalized by antisemitic and nationalist graffiti. A Star of David with a line drawn through it was found on the wall together with antisemitic slogans.

This is not the first incident of antisemitism in the small town to have taken place this year.

During an Easter sermon in May, Tarnow bishop Andrzej Jez reportedly accused the Jews of plotting a smear campaign against the Catholic Church.

Citing an article published in 1937 and proven to be false, the bishop claimed that during the 10th Zionist Congress held in Basel, Switzerland in 1911, the “anonymous nation” decided its “natural enemy is the Catholic Church.”

He also connected recent scandals about child abuse in the Catholic Church to Jews whom he claimed have a plan to “slander them [Catholic priests]” and “provoke scandals about their private lives.”


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