Vandals Damage Gravestones at Jewish Cemeteries in Rajec and Namestovo

Vandals Damage Gravestones at Jewish Cemeteries in Rajec and Namestovo

Rajec, December 23 (TASR) – Unknown vandals damaged 20 gravestones dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries at a remote Jewish cemetery in Rajec (Zilina region) between December 4-22, chairman of the Zilina Religious Community Pavol Frankl reported on Monday.

The police in the meantime launched investigation into desecration of a cemetery.

“This Jewish cemetery with around 400 gravestones is being cared for by 13 volunteers from Rajec. They’re doing an excellent job there, kudos to them … This isn’t primarily about material damage, as these gravestones, with the exception of two, can be raised again. Instead, it’s a moral issue – the cemetery is outside the town, on a hillside near a road leading to the mountains. Few people go there, nobody lives there. So those who went there did so for a purpose – to knock the gravestones over and do harm to the deceased,” said Frankl.

Unknown vandals have also damaged 59 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Namestovo (also Zilina region). Karol Kurtulik, chairman of a civic association called ‘Pamataj’ (Remember), said that the damage was discovered on December 16.

Vandalism such as that discovered in Rajec mustn’t be tolerated, said President Zuzana Caputova on Monday.

“It’s a very dangerous game designed to create fear and tension in society. It’s affected not only the bereaved and their close ones, but also the entire Jewish community, which yesterday lit the first candle on the Hanukkah menorah,” said Caputova.