In the news this month have been the rededication of two Jewish cemeteries Poland after restoration — but also the desecration of two Jewish cemeteries, on in the Czech Republic and one in Austria.
The restored Jewish cemeteries in Józefów Biłgorajski and Frampol, both in southeastern Poland, were re-dedicated on October 14, following clean-up work and installation of new fencing and gates that was organized by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ) and realized in cooperation with the ESJF Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung und zum Schutz Jüdischer Friedhöfe in Europa (European Initiative of Cleaning Up Jewish Cemeteries) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Funding was provided by the German government.
“The historical significance is the fact that these are the first two Jewish cemeteries in Poland renovated with funds from the German Federal Government,” Monika Krawczyk, director general of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, told JTA.
Meanwhile, vandals toppled at least 20 gravestones at the Jewish cemetery in Šafov, Czech Republic. Jaroslav Klenovský, who oversees Jewish heritage sites in Moravia, told local media that he discovered the vandalism when he visited the cemetery — which is listed as a cultural landmark — in early October.
The cemetery dates back to the 17th century and has more than 900 gravestones, with the earliest legible from 1720. Conservation work had begun earlier this year.
Mayor Milan Kubes said he believed the vandalism was carried out by youths. “They were probably teenagers, who probably did not realize what they are doing. I definitely would not see in it any anti-Semitic act,” he told local media.
Vandalism also took place in western Austria — where vandals over the weekend scrawled racist slogans and Nazi swastikas at the Jewish cemetery in Hohenems and a Muslim cemetery in neighboring Altach.
The web site vol.at showed a small swastika scrawled on the gate of the Jewish cemetery.
It said that earlier in October swastikas had been scrawled on “stumbling stone” Holocaust memorial cobblestones outside the Jewish Museum in Hohenems, and more than half a dozen buildings in town had been defaced with Nazi, xenophobic and anti-refugee graffiti.