Laurent Schmoll, president of the approximately 1,000-member Jewish community in Strasbourg, told reporters that he believed the cemetery was defiled in connection with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was being observed when the vandalism was discovered. “These are absolutely inscriptions from the Nazi period,” Schmoll said. “At the moment we celebrate the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, and I think there has to be a link.”
CRIF researcher Marc Knobel said it was too early to tell why the tombs were defiled, but that one reason could have been to “mark the day.” Strasbourg Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti in the past and Knobel acknowledged that it was not the first time that cemetery vandalism and other anti-Semitic incidents have occurred on January 27 – the day set aside by the United Nations to remember the Holocaust and its millions of victims. He added that it must have taken the vandals time to turn over the tombs, so they could have been spotted, but that the cemetery is not equipped with video surveillance cameras.