President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday condemned an attack on a Jewish cemetery in Romania, saying “Jew-hatred is still with us.”
In a suspected hate crime, vandals smashed 73 headstones at the Jewish cemetery in the Romanian town of Husi in the country’s northeast, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) from the capital city of Bucharest.
“I trust that the Romanian authorities will do whatever necessary to find those responsible and bring them to justice,” Rivlin tweeted. “Through education and remembrance we can counter the wave of anti-Semitism that we see around the world, and particularly in Europe.”
The scope of the devastation at the site in Husi, which used to have a large Jewish community, makes the vandalism there one of the worst reported in Europe this year.
Once again, we are faced with the terrible sights of #Jewish graves defiled and destroyed, this time over seventy graves in Romania. I know the Romanian government is working hard to counter #Antisemitism and xenophobia. My thoughts are with the members of the Jewish community pic.twitter.com/0GZbj37KkP
— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) April 4, 2019
“Such events of a profoundly anti-Semitic nature cannot be accepted in the democratic world, and seriously affect democracy in Romania,” Aurel Vainer, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, said in a statement on the organization’s website.
Police are investigating the latest vandalism, which closely followed a report on the Ziar news website titled “Husi’s Jewish cemetery looks like it’s been bombed.” The report detailed the severe neglect there following a fire that raged in the cemetery for two hours last month.
In neighboring Moldova, at least 80 headstones were smashed last week during restoration work on Chisinau’s old Jewish cemetery. The head of Moldova’s Inspection and Restoration of Monuments Agency, Ion Ştefanita, told Unimedia that the damage was caused by felled trees. Cutting them so they would have not smashed headstones would have endangered restoration workers, he said.
Separately, a rabbi’s headstone in the Czech city of Czestochowa was also vandalized last month. It was the second act of vandalism recorded there since December.