Culture & Society News

Slovakia: Second Jewish cemetery desecrated this month

Bratislava, Slovakia – Tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Slovakia were vandalized for the second time this month.

Nearly two dozen gravestones were desecrated earlier this month in the Jewish cemetery of Rajec, a small town located in northern Slovakia.

Although the exact date the incident took place remains unknown, the World Jewish Congress believes that the vandalism occurred in mid-December.

“The Jews of Slovakia have in recent years been fortunately spared of overtly aggressive expressions of anti-Semitism”, the organization announced in a statement. “But it has become sadly clear that in the climate of xenophobia and hatred spiraling across Europe, every minority community is indeed a potential target for malicious attacks”.

On December 16, nearly 60 gravestones, some of them over 200 years old, were vandalized and severely damaged in the town of Namestovo, located only 2 hours from Rajec. Dating back to the 18th century, the cemetery had been entirely restored in 2010.

It is not yet known whether the two incidents are related and the culprits have still not been found. Many acts of vandalism in Jewish cemeteries in Central Europe are often the work of vagrants or drug-users, and not necessarily hate crimes or anti-Semitic acts.

Slovakia has one of the smallest Jewish community in Europe, numbering at less than 3,000 according to the latest estimates.