Anger at Slovakia cemetery vandalism


V Slovakia’s Jewish community has condemned a “barbaric act” of antisemitism after vandals desecrated 59 graves, including some dating back two centuries.

Karol Kurtulik, the general manager of the cemetery in the northern town of Námestovo, said many headstones had been pushed over.

“When I discovered this, my legs went weak. It’s a barbaric act,” he told JTA, adding that “fake news and online conspiracy theories” had contributed to the spread of antisemitism in the country.

Local police estimate the damage amounted to at least £43,000. A criminal investigation is underway.

The cemetery had been neglected in recent decades because many of the descendants of those buried there had died in the Holocaust.

Restoration work was begun by Mr Kurtulik’s Remember organisation in 2010 in an effort to preserve the site.

More than three-quarters of Slovakia’s Jewish population — 105,000 people in all — perished during the Second World War, and only around 5,000 Jews now live in the country.

The World Jewish Congress said it was “an inexcusable and direct attack against the Jewish community.”

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