French authorities said on Wednesday that they were investigating damage done to Jewish graves in a German World War I military cemetery, as antisemitic acts multiply across the country.
In the cemetery, situated in the Oise region north of Paris, 10 Jewish gravestones were discovered damaged, the local prefecture said.
Prosecutors said they immediately launched an investigation into the incident, with a racist or religious motive a possibility, they said.
More than 1,500 antisemitic acts and comments have been recorded in France since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war following the Palestinian terror group’s October 7 onslaught, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday.
There have been growing tensions in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim communities, as war rages in the Gaza Strip.
The German cemetery in memory of World War I (1914-18) contains 1,903 graves of German soldiers, both Christian and Jewish.
Profanation de 10 tombes juives dans le cimetière militaire de la Première Guerre mondiale de Moulin-sous-Touvent dans l’Oise. pic.twitter.com/FaEsBHsR4o
— Radio Shalom (@radioshalom94_8) November 15, 2023
Speaking on a visit to the Swiss capital Bern, President Emmanuel Macron said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the damage done to the graves.
The president affirmed his “personal commitment” to “fight implacably and tirelessly against all forms of antisemitism.”
The Oise prefect, Catherine Seguin, called the defacing of the headstones “despicable.”
On Sunday, more than 182,000 people marched against antisemitism across France, including 105,000 in Paris alone.