A memorial to Holocaust victims and members of the French resistance was defaced with graffiti on Thursday during widespread rioting after police fatally shot a teenager in a Paris suburb.
The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation et de la Résistance (Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation and the Resistance) in Nanterre honors the 200,000 deported to Nazi concentration camps from France during World War II, as well as those who fought against fascism.
The memorial was vandalized during rioting after a 17-year-old — identified only as Nahel — was killed by police in Nanterre on Tuesday.
A number of anti-police slogans were daubed on the commemorative site.
“It is truly horrifying to witness the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation in Nanterre being vandalized,” tweeted the European Jewish Congress.
“This shameful act of disrespect for the memory of the victims of the Holocaust must be unequivocally condemned and those responsible held accountable,” the organization said.
It is truly horrifying to witness the Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation in Nanterre being vandalized.
This shameful act of disrespect for the memory of the victims of the Holocaust must be unequivocally condemned and those responsible held accountable. pic.twitter.com/B0HT3L9TiF
— European Jewish Congress (@eurojewcong) June 29, 2023
Ariel Goldmann, president of the United Jewish Social Fund, tweeted that the vandalism was “an absolute outrage and a disgrace. Nothing is respected.”
According to unverified video circulated on social media, the phrase “we’re going to make a Shoah,” was also sprayed nearby.
Mémorial de la déportation vandalisé à Nanterre : « on va vous faire une Shoah »
Insupportable, inacceptable. pic.twitter.com/3dRPjTz044
— Aurélien Véron (@aurelien_veron) June 30, 2023
Rioting has raged in cities around France since Tuesday, despite a huge police deployment, with cars and buildings set ablaze and stores looted.
The slaying of Nahel stirred up long-simmering tensions between police and young people in housing projects who struggle with poverty, unemployment and racial discrimination.
The subsequent rioting is the worst France has seen in years.
Hundreds of police and firefighters have been injured, but authorities haven’t released injury tallies for protesters.
Nanterre Mayor Patrick Jarry said that France needs to “push for changes” in disadvantaged neighborhoods.