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Gravestones toppled at Czech Jewish cemetery

20 stones knocked over in town southeast of Prague

Illustrative photo of smashed tombstones in a Jewish cemetery. (AP/Hans Punz)
Illustrative photo of smashed tombstones in a Jewish cemetery. (AP/Hans Punz)

Some 20 tombstones were knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in a southern Czech town.

The vandalism discovered earlier this month occurred in Safov, about 120 miles southeast of Prague, the local media reported. The estimated cost of the damage is about $2,500, according to Jaroslav Klenovsky of the Brno Jewish community, which administers the site.

“Over the last three years, we have erected all the tombstones that were lying on the ground. But when I visited the cemetery earlier this month, I found that around 20 of them had been damaged and knocked over,” Klenovsky told the Znojemsky denik newspaper, adding that he had filed a criminal complaint with the police over the incident. There are no suspects.

The mayor of Safov, Milan Kubes, expressed doubt that the vandalism was motivated by anti-Semitism.

“I think it must have been done by some teenagers who did not realize what they were doing,” Kubes told the newspaper.

The cemetery in Safov was established in the 17th century and is now a registered cultural monument. It has about 950 gravestones, the oldest from 1720. The cemetery was destroyed by the Nazis on the eve of World War II.

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