SARRE-UNION, France – It’s Sunday shortly before 5 p.m. and the police have been advised of the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in eastern France. According to initial reports, 300 graves have been degraded. It’s just a huge fields of rubble that the perpetrators have left behind them. No statements, no claims –the steles were just broken.
A huge monument honoring the victims of the Holocaust was completely destroyed as well.
This is not the first time that the Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union has been desecrated. Indeed, in 1988 and 2001 several graves had also been degraded there.
The news has come as a big shock to French political and religious figures.
“A feeling of disgust” was the reaction confessed by Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, who promised that “everything will be done to find those responsible.” The president of the republic, François Hollande, said that, “French Jews have their place in Europe and in France in particular,” despite the words of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who has called “all the Jews of Europe to join the Hebrew state. ”
The French Council of the Muslim Faith also “strongly condemns these inhumane desecrations,” and made statements about the sadness and grief of those affected by the heinous acts.
“I am fed up of all these anti-Semitic acts, which we have seen in their different forms on January 9 in France, yesterday in Copenhagen, and today in Alsace,” said Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France.
The number of anti-Semitic acts in France doubled in 2014 compared to the previous year. According to the Protection of the Jewish Community Service (SPCJ), an organization working in conjunction with the Ministry of Interior, 851 anti-Semitic acts (actions and threats) were registered last year against 423 in 2013, an increase of 101 percent.
France is home to western Europe’s biggest Jewish community.
French President François Hollande called the national community “to wake up.”
By Esther Hervy