Poland: Jewish cemetery desecrated

100 gravestones painted with Nazi symbols; police: Work of hooligans.

anti-Semitism 298 (photo credit: AP)
anti-Semitism 298
(photo credit: AP)
Vandals spray painted swastikas and other Nazi symbols on about 100 gravestones at a large Jewish cemetery in Poland, police said Monday. Visitors to the cemetery in the southern city of Czestochowa discovered the damage on Sunday and police have not yet found the culprits, said Silesia regional police spokesman Andrzej Gaska. "This is one of the biggest acts of destruction in years," said Jan Gebert, spokesman for the Jewish community in Warsaw. "In fact, I can't think of any other cases in Europe that have been this big." The vandals used black spray paint to tag the gravestones with the letters SS, swastikas, and the slogan "Jews Out" written in German. Gaska said police had not observed activity by anti-Semitic groups in the region for some time, and that the incident appeared to be of a "hooligan nature." Czestochowa's Jewish cemetery has about 4,500 graves and is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Poland. This country was home to about 3.5 million Jews - Europe's largest Jewish community - until the Holocaust, when most were killed by Nazi Germany. Today there are an estimated 30,000 Jews in Poland.