Vandalized Polish Holocaust memorial (file)
Vandalized Polish Holocaust memorial (file)Reuters

Newly-erected Holocaust monuments in Poland and Italy were vandalized by individuals who wrote on them far-right and far-left slogans, respectively.

The Polish monument, which was unveiled in 2014 in the country’s northeast, was hit for the second time in a little over a year by unidentified culprits who broke off part of its surface and spray-painted expletives and a neo-Nazi symbol on what remained. In Italy, the assailants wrote “Burn the banks” on a Holocaust monument that was erected in February.

The Italian monument vandalized was the Shoah Memorial of Bologna, 190 miles northwest of Rome, that was inaugurated at a central square in February. “Extinguish your mortgage, burn your banks,” the culprits wrote on one of the monument’s walls. They added an Anarchist symbol to the graffiti. Police was handling the case as a possible hate crime, the Corriere di Bologna daily reported Thursday.

In Poland, the monument’s stone tablet, which resembles a headstone, was shattered where it used to feature a Start of David etching according to Radio Bialystok, which reported that the attack occurred in recent days in Raigrod and was discovered Friday.

The assailants spray painted in red offensive slogans and Odin’s Cross – a White supremacist version of the Celtic Cross, which consists of a square cross interlocking with or surrounded by a circle.

The monument was erected in September 2014 in Raigrod, 130 miles northeast of Warsaw, and vandalized for the first time approximately half a year later.

“The vandalization of this monument twice in 13 months is doubly painful,” said Gideon Taylor, chair of operations of The World Jewish Restitution Organization. Beyond the damage caused by the act itself, the destruction was an attack on the memory of the genocide, he wrote in a statement Monday. “The authorities must step forward and take serious measures to find the perpetrators and to protect this and other such monuments,” he added.

Taylor’s organization and the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland in 2002 set up the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, which erected the monument with help from the local Jewish community near a Jewish cemetery that was destroyed in World War II.

Some 750 Jews lives in Raigrod before the Holocaust, constituting a third of the town’s population. In October 1942, Polish and German police officers deported most of them to Grajewo. Four brothers from the Zuckerbraun family, all of them butchers, were killed while resisting the deportation. The rest stayed at Raigrod for six days before they were deported to the Bogusza internment camp and from there the Auschwitz and Treblinka death camps, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum  in Jerusalem. Of the handful of Jews who escaped the Raigrod deportation, only one survived. The rest were caught and murdered by Poles or delivered by them to the Germans.