Jewish headstones destroyed at mass vandalization of St Louis cemetery
Photographs taken at St Louis Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery show collapsed and broken headstones. A reporter from WCOV who visited the cemetery counted more than 100 which had been toppled.
The damage was concentrated in an area holding the cemetery’s oldest graves.
"These are Holocaust survivors that are in here, they shouldn't have to endure anymore trauma, let them be settled," Robin Rickerman, who has family buried in the cemetery, told WCOV.
Police said they are reviewing surveillance footage and have not ruled out investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Governor of Missouri Eric Greitens said the act of desecration will serve only to unite those it has targeted. “From their pitiful act of ugliness, we can emerge even more powerful in our faith,” he said on Facebook, where he described the incident as “despicable.”
St Louis mayor Francis Slay also condemned the incident, describing it as “a disgrace to our region” on Twitter.
The vandals at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery are a disgrace to our region. #fgs— MayorSlay.com (@MayorSlay) February 20, 2017
The incident comes amidst a spike in reported of anti-Semitic incidents in the US. On Monday six states reported bomb threats against Jewish community centers (JCC). Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, said the caller involved in each of the incidents appears to be the same person.
More than 50 US Jewish centers have received bomb threats since the beginning of the year. No bombs have been discovered at any of the premises.