ROME – Civic and Jewish leaders on Monday condemned the defacing of a recently inaugurated Holocaust memorial in Rome. Over the weekend, vandals covered with black paint a set of “stumbling stones” that had been placed in front of the house of a Jewish family that had been deported to Auschwitz during the Holocaust. The Stumbling Stones – or Stolpersteine – memorial project was begun in the 1990s by the German artist Gunter Demnig. Brass plates, like cobblestones, are placed in front of the houses of deportees, bearing the name, year of birth and fate of the person memorialized.About 20,000 such stones have been placed in several countries. Thefirst ones in Rome were unveiled this year on Holocaust Remembrance Dayat the end of January. Rome Province President Nicola Zingaretti called the vandalism a“horrible action” and, along with Rome’s mayor and other officials,expressed solidarity with the Jewish community.