Swastikas found on gravestones at Cleveland Jewish cemetery

The Cleveland Jewish Federation called the vandalism "absolutely sickening."

Swastika on a wall (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Swastika on a wall (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Swastikas were found on gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in Cleveland on Sunday, according to the local Jewish Federation.

Photos from the scene showed red swastikas scrawled on a number of gravestones.

"It is absolutely sickening that anyone could have so much hate for the Jewish people that they would desecrate Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery," said the Cleveland Jewish Federation. "This cowardly act to violate the memory of our elders only confirms what we already know: The hatred of the Jewish community here and around the world now is at a level not seen in generations.

"We will support law enforcement in any way we can to see that those who are responsible face the consequences of their actions," it said. "We will restore the damage of the cemetery and return the dignity to the damaged gravesites. And we will continue to combat hate against all communities with an unbending resolve."

 Cleveland skyline (Illustrative) (credit: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons)
Cleveland skyline (Illustrative) (credit: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons)

Local authorities had not responded to the incident as of early Monday morning.

Local community cleans off graffiti

According to the Federation, about 20 people went out to the cemetery after the incident to help clean off the graffiti, saying this was "further proof of the strength of our community and the unwavering commitment to one another that connects us."

US Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio 11th District) condemned the vandalism, posting on X (formerly Twitter) that she was "Saddened and outraged that a Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn has been desecrated. Sending my thoughts to the local Jewish community—we are with you. Antisemitism is clearly on the rise and we must speak out. Antisemitism and all forms of hate have no place in NE [northeastern] Ohio [including Cleveland] or anywhere."

Chesed Shel Emeth (Kindness of Truth) Cemetery was founded in 1902 for Jews in need in Cleveland, according to the local Jewish Federation. It did not have any affiliation to a specific synagogue for most of its tenure, although it is now affiliated with Menorah Park Synagogue. The cemetery had been neglected and vandalized for years until the federation took control of it and raised funds for upkeep and improvements.