Kindertransport memorial defaced with ‘antisemitic graffiti’ in Berlin

The memorial was allegedly vandalised by Pro-Palestine demonstrators


The defaced memorial (Photo: Oren Samouha)

The Kindertransport memorial in Berlin has been defaced with “antisemitic” graffiti, following a pro-Palestinian protest.

The memorial, Trains to life – Trains to death, which commemorates the 10,000 children who survived the Holocaust on the Kindertransport, was vandalised on New Year's Eve. The bronze statues which make up the moment were sprayed with white graffiti, and depictions of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Police in Berlin are currently investigating the damage, which is believed to have been carried out by those involved with an anti-Israel demonstration. The protest was organised illegally, after German authorities banned the marches over the holiday period. Hundreds were arrested.

The Association of Jewish Refugees stated they are “disgusted that this poignant and cherished monument, which commemorates the desperate yet life-saving journeys of the youngest victims of Nazi oppression, has been desecrated”.

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said in a statement: “We are currently seeing the rapid abuse and distortion of the Holocaust before our eyes. Let's make 2024 the year of saying no to antisemitism, no to the politicisation of the Holocaust and no to the desecration of the memory of the past”.

The Kindertransport memorial was designed by architect Frank Meisler, who himself trvalled with a 1939 children’s transport from Berlin to England. The monument stands outside Berlin's Friedrichstraße station, where the first Kindertransport train left for England in 1938.

Natalie Sapir, who works as a Jewish Heritage tour guide in Berlin, said: “vandalism and attacks on memorials aren’t new”. “Both the Memorial for the Homosexuals and the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe have invisible anti-graffiti paint on the concrete to make it easy to clean,” she told the JC.
The rise in antisemitism in Germany prompted the antisemitism commissioner to warn that the country is at risk of going back to its “most horrific times”. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said he was “ashamed” at the recent wave of antisemitism.

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