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Thirteen headstones at a Baltimore, Maryland Jewish cemetery have been vandalized with swastikas.

The damage at the German Hill Road Jewish Cemeteries in Dundalk, Baltimore County was discovered by Deborah R. Weiner, Eric L. Goldstein and Dianne Weiner Feldman who were there conducting research, reported JMore Baltimore Jewish Living.

Weiner, a Baltimore Jewish historian who co-authored with Goldstein “On Middle Ground: A History of the Jews of Baltimore,” told JMore that the group immediately noticed the swastikas painted on graves as they approached the cemetery entrance.

“It’s something I’ve never seen in all my years of cemetery-going,” she said. “It was shocking at first but given the climate that we’ve been in for the last few years, it’s not really surprising.”

The defacement would not have happened five or six years ago, she felt. “People seem to feel more license to do things like that now.”

The German Hill grounds are home to multiple cemeteries for 10 Baltimore congregations.

“Hearing the news of swastikas being drawn on cemetery headstones was both despicable and repulsive,” said Jewish Federation of Baltimore President Marc B. Terrill in a statement. “Fortunately, we have the infrastructure… to respond quickly and provide dignity for the memory of our loved ones.”

He added, “This situation also underscores our fight against hate and anti-Semitism remains critical. There is much work to be done and our network of agencies are actively engaged in that fight.”

On Monday morning, the cemetery caretaker cleaned the anti-Semitic graffiti from 13 headstones. The incident was reported to the Baltimore Police Department.

The cemetery’s gates have also been temporarily locked. They are exploring an “on-demand locking system” for the future that would ensure only designated people would be allowed inside the grounds.

The Baltimore Jewish Council is not certain if the defacement was random vandalism or the work of a neo-Nazi or white supremacist group.

“Whatever it is, it’s an act of anti-Semitism,” said the Council’s executive director Howard Libit in an interview with JMore. “It’s a despicable act of hate that cannot be tolerated. We have to all stand together against hate. We have a community that generally respects each other, and fortunately this kind of thing is rare. Hopefully, we’ll continue to educate people. This is just not acceptable.”

The Council is sending a report to the ADL and they said that the police will likely forward a report to the FBI.