40 Jewish graves desecrated in Germany

Vandals smash headstones of some 40 graves in historic Jewish cemetery; German police investigating, searching for witnesses.

By World Israel News Staff

Unknown perpetrators damaged more than 40 graves in a Jewish cemetery in Germany, officials announced on Wednesday morning.

The vandalism occurred in the historic Jewish cemetery in the small town of Koethen, in Saxony-Anhalt. Jews have been buried in the graveyard for some 400 years.

Sometime between September 15th and 19th, police said, vandals smashed and brought down dozens of gravestones.

Damage to the site was estimated at around 20,000 Euros ($21,500.)

The State Police of the Anhalt-Bitterfeld station and the Central Criminal Investigation Service of the Dessau-Roßlau are currently investigating, German media reported.

In a similar incident in May 2022, 16 graves were damaged in the Koethen cemetery. The perpetrators behind the damage were not apprehended.

The ancient Jewish graveyard in Worms was targeted by vandals in July 2020. It is the oldest surviving Jewish graveyard in Europe.

Vandals splashed green paint and desecrated at least 50 graves at the site.

The grave of Maharam of Rothenburg, a prominent 13th century rabbi and scholar, was damaged in the attack.

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“We are witnessing, and not for the first time, desecration of German cemeteries alongside a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in the entire public sphere,” Rabbi Joseph Havlin, a Jewish leader in Frankfurt, told German media at the time.

“We call on the German government to declare an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism to ensure that such acts do not repeat.”

The chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, bemoaned rising online antisemitism that spills over into offline violence.

“There is no doubt that [there is] a sharp rise in antisemitic discourse on the Internet,” Margolin said.

“We unfortunately see how the toxic discourse on social media is turning into real attacks on Jewish institutions and symbols.”