AT least 59 Jewish gravestones and monuments have been vandalised in northern Slovakia, where police have called the acts ‘monstrous’ and causing ‘incalculable’ spiritual damage.
The tombstones were tipped over and broken in a Jewish cemetery in Namestovo, where locals had been taking care of the site for decades since the Jewish community were persecuted and murdered in World War II.
Slovakia’s Jewish community labelled the act as ‘unprecedented and ‘barbaric’, with the World Jewish Congress condemning the desecration in a statement. They said:
“The Jews of Slovakia have in recent years been fortunately spared of overtly aggressive expressions of anti-Semitism, but it has become sadly clear that in the climate of xenophobia and hatred spiralling across Europe, every minority community is indeed a potential target for malicious attack.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Christian NGO Pamätaj–Remember for taking it upon itself to invest in the maintenance and upkeep of the Jewish cemetery in the absence of an active Jewish community in the town of Namestovo, and we sincerely hope that this example of interfaith support will continue to triumph over any and all manifestations of hatred.
“This was an inexcusable and direct attack against the Jewish community, which must be condemned at the highest levels. All authorities in Slovakia and across Europe must make it clear that such expressions of disrespect and hatred will not be tolerated.
“We thank the local police authorities for treating this attack with the severity that it deserves and hope that the perpetrators will be located and brought to justice at once.”
As Euro Weekly News understands, local groups are appealing for funds to repair the damage done where people from across the world have offered to help in the cemetery’s restoration, where some of the gravestones are more than 200 years old.