Vandalized tombstones
Vandalized tombstonesEric L. Goldstein

Visitors to the Jewish cemetery in the town of Dundalk in the state of Maryland were stunned to see swastikas spray-painted on numerous headstones.

The incident was reported to Stephen Winick, president of the board of the Association of Jewish Cemeteries in nearby Baltimore. Representatives from the union came to the cemetery and cleaned up the graffiti.

Local police have opened an investigation into the incident and meanwhile have locked the cemetery gates which are now opened only at the request of the families of the deceased.

Historian Debra Weiner, who was in the group that discovered the vandalism, said, "I've never seen this kind of thing in this cemetery. It's shocking, but not surprising in the current political climate. Jew-haters seem to feel they can harm us freely," she added.

Mark Trill, president of the Jewish Federation in Baltimore, issued a statement saying "spray-painting swastikas on gravestones is a despicable and repulsive act. We will do everything to preserve the memory of our loved ones. This incident underscores the importance of our fight against hatred and anti-Semitism."