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September 21, 2023 12:12 pm

Jewish Cemetery in Germany Vandalized for Second Time in Eighteen Months

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

The Jewish cemetery in Köthen, Germany. Photo: Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

A Jewish cemetery in eastern Germany has been vandalized for the second time in the space of eighteen months, with the unknown perpetrators still at large.

Police in the city of Köthen — located in the state of Saxony-Anhalt — reported that 40 gravestones in the cemetery, which dates back to the 18th century, had been overturned.

The vandalism is believed to have taken place between Sept. 15-19, with an estimated damage of 20,000 Euros, the local police and public prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The cemetery was last targeted in May 2022, when 16 gravestones were overturned. No arrests were reported following that incident.

According to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust, the first Jews settled in Köthen in the early 17th century. Both the city’s synagogue and its cemetery were destroyed during the infamous nationwide pogrom orchestrated by the Nazi regime on Nov. 9-10, 1938.

The latest bout of vandalism came to light one day after the German government outlawed a skinhead white supremacist organization with strong links to neo-Nazis in the US.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser on Tuesday announced a ban on the German branch of “Hammerskins,” a US-based organization originally formed in 1988 to promote concerts and other events with racist and antisemitic rock bands.

“Right-wing extremism remains the biggest extremist threat to our democracy. That’s why we continue to act very decisively,” Faeser said.

Germany has experienced a worrying resurgence of antisemitism in recent years. The year on year increase in antisemitic outrages continued in 2022, with a rise of nearly 40 percent in the acts of violence registered, according to statistics released by the Federal Criminal Police Office.

Overall, a total of 2,639 antisemitic offenses were recorded throughout the year, including 88 incidents involving violence.

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