A group of neo-Nazi vandals has defaced the Bialystok cemetery in eastern Poland, the second such anti-Semitic attack in the area so far this month.
The vandals rearranged bushes of the site, originally formed into the shape of a Magen David, or Jewish Star of David. Instead, they formed the bushes into a swastika, police said, placing them within the original Jewish star.
“Unknown assailants, most likely overnight, vandalized a monument commemorating a former Jewish cemetery,” said Andrzej Baranowski, Bialystok Police spokesman said. “The [Nazi] symbol has now been removed,” Baranowski told TVN 24 News.
Television viewers were shown film of the swastika made from bushes, placed in the center of the original Jewish Star of David.
The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants has condemned the “cowardly desecration” and urged the Polish government to do more to protect Jewish sites.
“Security at locations memorializing the destroyed Jewish communities of Poland must be guaranteed as a matter of Polish national obligation,” the organization said in a statement.
Vandals defaced a Holocaust memorial on September 1 to victims of a World War II massacre against hundreds of Polish Jews, scrawling vicious slogans and swastikas on the monument. The site, located in the town of Jedwabne, marks the horrific attack in which hundreds of Jews were burned alive by their longtime Polish neighbors in a barn in 1941. Although Poland's Jewish community was one of the largest in Europe, by the end of the Nazi Holocaust, it was all but decimated, with only bare remnants surviving.
Bialystock police have said they believe the same group of vandals committed both crimes.