Holocaust monuments vandalized in Germany, Belarus

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Unidentified individuals vandalized three World War II monuments in Germany and another Holocaust memorial in Belarus.

All five cases were reported last week.

The incident in Belarus was reported by tour guide Tamara Kurdadze on July 8, when she saw someone had doused yellow paint on a statue commemorating the mass murder of Jews at the Minsk Ghetto, which German occupation forces established 75 years ago and where they imprisoned 100,000 Jews.

The monument, a depiction of men, women and children descending into a pit, commemorates the shooting on March 2, 1942 of about 5,000 Jews from the Minsk Ghetto. At least 50,000 Jews are believed to have perished at the Minsk Ghetto.

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On July 5, vandals using pink paint defaced a memorial at a sub-camp of the Mittelbau Dora concentration camp in the former east German state of Thuringia, using the code numbers “9201.” Police said they did not know what the numbers meant, but are investigating the vandalism. Mittelbau Dora was a satellite camp of Buchenwald, where tens of thousands of Jews were imprisoned before and during the Holocaust.

In Germany, unknown perpetrators using firecrackers on July 5 destroyed an information board at the open air exhibition in Jamlitz, in the former East German state of Brandenburg, commemorating the victims of the concentration camp that was there before 1945 and the special Soviet prison for low-level Nazi party functionaries set up there after the war. It was the third time in three months that vandals destroyed information boards at the site, apparently using the same methods.

The director of the Foundation for Brandenburg Memorials, Gunter Morsch, said that security was inexcusably lax at the site; police reportedly drove by at irregular intervals. “Given that we clearly have repeat offenders here, we need security guards immediately,” he told German news media.

The next day, on July 6, unknown perpetrators in Cologne used white paint to deface a brass plaque dedicated to the grandfather of local Jewish writer Peter Finkelgruen – Martin – who died in 1942 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp near Prague. According to reports, insiders suspect local right-wing extremists from the nearby town of Zollstock. Plans are under way to replace the plaque.

“It took four years and four months since the memorial was dedicated until the first vandalism,” Peter Finkelgruen, who lives near Cologne, commented in local media.

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