Bodo Ramelow, premier of Thuringia state in Germany, on Monday pledged a "decisive response" after vandals damaged trees planted in honor of the victims of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald twice in a week, AFP reported.
Seven trees planted near the camp memorial were felled or badly damaged last week, and another two were destroyed over the weekend, according to the charity that planted them.
The trees were part of the project "1,000 beeches" by the Lebenshilfewerk organization which has since 1999 planted saplings along the "death march" route from the former camp.
Ramelow said he was interrupting his summer holiday in response, telling the daily Tageszeitung he would attend a memorial march for deported Jewish youth in the city of Weimar on Sunday.
"The only thing that will help is a decisive response. Two new trees for every destroyed one. Redoubled focus on every cowardly act," he said.
Buchenwald served as a Nazi forced labor camp from 1937 to 1945. An estimated 56,000 people died there, including 11,000 Jews and 8,000 Soviet prisoners of war.
US forces liberated the camp in 1945.
In 2019, three German teenagers were investigated for allegedly playing antisemitic songs after a visit to Buchenwald.
In 2016, police in Germany launched an investigation against two suspected British neo-Nazis photographed giving a Hitler salute in Buchenwald.