swastika graffiti- AP - 02092011
The vandalized monument in Jedwabne, Poland. Photo by AP
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Vandals have defaced a Jewish memorial in eastern Poland by rearranging bushes forming the Star of David into a Nazi swastika, police said on Monday, in the latest of a string of anti-Semitic incidents in the area.

"Unknown assailants, most likely overnight, vandalized a monument commemorating a former Jewish cemetery," a police spokesman in the city of Bialystok, Andrzej Baranowski, told TVN 24 news channel.

Television pictures showed the swastika, made from bushes, sitting in the middle of the original Star of David.

"The (Nazi) symbol has now been removed," Baranowski said.

Poland was home to Europe's largest Jewish population until Nazi Germany's invasion and occupation of the country during World War Two. Most Polish Jews perished in the Holocaust.

The Polish government and Jewish groups have sharply condemned the recent acts of vandalism against Jewish targets. Bialystok police have said they believe the attacks were performed by the same people.

On Sept. 1, at a site near Bialystok, vandals covered a monument to victims of a World War Two pogrom against Polish Jews with swastikas and racist inscriptions.