Anti-semitism on the rise: 107 Jewish graves desecrated in eastern France

On Tuesday, in the eastern French town of Westhoffen, 107 Jewish graves were desecrated, with swastikas and other anti-Jewish symbols daubed on them

Around 107 Jewish graves in the eastern French town of Westhoffen, were found desecrated, on Tuesday. Westhoffen is situated 25 km to the west of the city of Strasbourg, close to German-French border. The incident at Westhoffen occurred a few hours after a similar incident had occurred at another Jewish cemetery in the nearby village of Schaffhouse-sur-Zorn.

Swastikas and other anti-Jewish symbols smeared all over

Jews Pixabay

The graves were smeared with Swastikas and other anti-Jewish symbols, DW reported. Number '14', considered as a white supremacist symbol was also found on one of the vandalized graves. Just a few hours ago, a similar incident had occurred in a Jewish cemetery in the town of Schaffhouse-sur-Zorn.

French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to describe 'antisemitism' as a 'crime', which needs to be fought against, 'until our dead can sleep in peace'.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe expressed his 'disgust' at the two 'anti-Semitic' incidents that occurred on the same day.

France's Interior Minister Cristophe Castaner described the incident as 'disgusting' and 'an insult to the values of our Republic'.

The incident comes on the same day when the French Parliament adopted a resolution on combating anti-Semitism.

Similar incidents in the past

In February, more than 90 graves were daubed with swastikas at the Quatzenheim Jewish cemetery northwest of Strasbourg. In April, similar symbols appeared on the wall of the town hall of Dieffenthal. A few days later, walls of a local council office in Schiltigheim were daubed with Nazi symbols.

This year, post-boxes featuring a Holocaust survivor's portrait were daubed with swastikas, while a Jewish bakery in central Paris had the German word for Jews ("Juden") spray-painted on its window. Police had to come to the rescue of philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who was bombarded with anti-Jewish slurs, by a group of yellow vest protesters.

France is home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, with 550,000 people following Judaism, residing in the west European nation. According to a report published earlier this year, France has seen a 74% rise in anti-Semitic attacks, which increased from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018.