Austria: Pres. of Graz Jewish community attacked with baseball bat

Attack on leader of Jewish community comes days after community's only synagogue was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Gary Willig ,

Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz

The head of the Jewish community of the Austrian city of Graz was attacked by an unknown assailant with a baseball bat on Saturday, the Austrian paper Der Standard reported.

Elie Rosen was attacked as he left his car. He quickly jumped back into the vehicle, at which point the attacker hit the car with the bat.

The Austrian government provided personal protection for Rosen following the attack. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz expressed "shock" over the attack.

The synagogue in Graz has been vandalized twice over the past week. On Wednesday, unknown vandals spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the synagogue walls. The graffiti read “Free Palestine” and “our country and our language are red lines."

Rosen told the Wiener Zeitung that the messages were painted on a wall of the synagogue that was built from the bricks of the original structure that the Nazis destroyed in 1938.

“It’s not right-wing extremism,” Rosen said. “In Graz we are increasingly dealing with left-wing and anti-Israel anti-Semitism. We can see that clearly.”

The city of Graz, which is located about 80 miles southwest of Vienna, has about 150 Jews.