Friday, March 09, 2007

Polish Jewish cemetery vandalized again

Vandals in western Poland badly damaged half the tombstones in a Jewish cemetery. Half of the 20 tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Swidin were broken March 1, according to Albert Stankowski of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Warsaw.

"This was done during the same time as the Claims Conference was visiting in Poland, and I have no doubt that the act against the cemetery was related," he said. Stankowksi was referring to a Claims Conference meeting last week with the government about compensation for Jewish property stolen by the Nazis and communists.

"The articles in the press gave readers the feeling that the Jews were coming to take their property away, and an evangelical priest in the town thinks the people who did this to the cemetery were reacting to that," he said.

It was the third time in five years that the cemetery was attacked. Last year, when three tombstones were damaged, Stankowski asked the regional prosecutor to investigate.

"The prosecutor told us it was the wind that caused the problem. So I brought it to a higher prosecutor and the case was still under investigation when this destruction happened, he said. "But I can tell you that the police have shown no interest in really investigating the case."