Cemetery in Westhoffen which was vandalized
Cemetery in Westhoffen which was vandalized Jewish Consistoire of the Lower Rhine region

Among the 107 gravestones that were vandalized last week in a cemetery in Westhoffen, west of Strasbourg in France, was also the gravestone of Marta Guggenheim, the great grandmother of the head of the Jewish Agency’s delegation in France, Ouriel Gottlieb, the Israel Hayom newspaper reports.

Guggenheim was born in 1883 in Switzerland and married Meir Guggenheim. Meir was one of the leaders of the Jewish community in France and the chief rabbi of the Jewish communities in Alsace. The couple had four children, whom they raised them in the spirit of the Torah and Jewish tradition. After their death, the two were buried in the Jewish cemetery in the village. The dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren born to their children were raised in the spirit of Meir and Marta Guggenheim's tradition, and most of them made Aliyah and moved to Israel.

One of Marta's great-grandchildren is Ouriel Gottlieb, 40, the head of the Jewish Agency delegation in France. Gottlieb discovered through a post that his relative posted on Facebook that among the desecrated graves was his great grandmother's tombstone.

"My father, Rabbi Daniel Gottlieb of blessed memory, who was the grandson of Marta and Meir Guggenheim of blessed memory, raised us all in the spirit of Jewish tradition and love of Israel," Ouriel told Israel Hayom. "When we were children, I used to go to this cemetery with my parents and my three brothers to connect to our roots."

"My brothers and I always tell our children about our family history. This year my brother and I decided to take our children to visit the Jewish cemetery in the village, to connect them to their roots, just as my parents used to take us there when we were little. When I saw the picture of my great grandma's tomb, on which a swastika was sprayed this week - I was shocked.”

Gottlieb added that "now my visit and that of my brothers to this cemetery is of deeper significance and importance."

Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog said following the anti-Semitic incident, "The desecration of the Jewish cemetery is an unbelievable act of evil, part of a violent and blatant language of anti-Semitic and anti-Semitic Jewish activities that is plaguing us in this era and which commits us to an international joint effort."