Dutch Jewish headstones knocked down, hit with blunt object

Cnaan Liphshiz

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Unidentified individuals destroyed nine headstones at a Dutch Jewish cemetery.

The graves were knocked down at the Jewish cemetery of Oud-Beijerland near Rotterdam, 45 miles south of Amsterdam, and showed signs of vandalism, police said, according to a report on the incident that appeared on Wednesday in the Algemeen Dagblad daily.

Police do not have any information on the persons responsible for the damage and have asked witnesses to come forward. The vandalism occurred sometime after Tuesday, according to the report. According to signs found on some of the graves, the vandals brought down blunt objects on some of the headstones they damaged.

”This is very nasty, and we are deeply saddened by it,” Ruvben Vis, the secretary of the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK, told the newspaper. “The final rest of the people buried there was disturbed,” he added. Vis also said that the graves in Oud-Beijerland are 80 to 100 years old and that keeping them intact “is a moral responsibility that rests on our shoulders.”

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The cemetery had a total of 68 graves, according to a report by the news site dichtbij.nl. Some of the headstones were desecrated with paint, according to that report.

In 2012, the Council of Europe passed a resolution that placed the responsibility for Jewish cemeteries on governments. Jewish cemeteries “are part of the European cultural heritage” and are “probably more at risk than those of other faiths,” the resolution read.

Vandalism at Jewish cemeteries accounts for approximately 10 percent of the total of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Western Europe, according to Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

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