‘History repeats itself’: Vandals target Jewish memorial stone for synagogue destroyed by Nazis

‘History repeats itself’: Vandals target Jewish memorial stone for synagogue destroyed by Nazis
A large marble slab commemorating the synagogue burnt to the ground by Nazis during WWII was knocked off its plinth in Strasbourg as France faces a rise of anti-Semitic attacks.

“A new incident of anti-Semitism in our town,” Alain Fontanel, Strasbourg’s deputy mayor, wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning posting a photo from the scene.

The official later told local media that the damage was caused intentionally since “you can’t push a stele of this weight by chance especially since the message is clearly written on it.”

The memorial stone marks the site of the Strasbourg’s Kleber Wharf synagogue, which was looted and burned by the Nazis in 1940.

The memorial location might have been significant for the perpetrator, a local Jewish organization spokesman suspects, saying that vandals sought “to erase the memory of the Kleber wharf synagogue by destroying it twice."

Officials promised to take all necessary actions to punish those responsible for the act, while Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries admitted he is “very worried about this resurgence of the anti-Semitism.”

“Sadly, history repeats itself,” the mayor wrote on his Facebook page.

In February, France witnessed a number of high-profile anti-Semitic attacks. Dozens of graves were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery outside Strasbourg prompting president Emmanuel Macron as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come up with strong-worded statements.

Anti-Semitic acts also hit Paris as swastikas were sprayed on post boxes with portraits of the prominent French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil. In another incident, offenders drew the word Juden (German for Jews) on the window of a bakery in central Paris.

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In 2018, the total number of anti-Semitic attacks in France increased by 74 percent, jumping to 541 from 311 in 2017, France’s interior minister Christophe Castaner said adding that anti-Jewish sentiments “spread like poison.”

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