PARIS - Vandals have painted a Star of David and written "Dirty Jew" on a prominent modern bronze statue in Paris of French Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongly convicted of spying in the 19th century.
Witnesses said a yellow star of David, like the one Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis during World War Two, had been painted over the plaque at the foot of the statue, which had "Dirty Jew" scrawled on it.
Jewish groups have warned of an increase in anti-Semitism in France. France's Jewish community umbrella group CRIF was not immediately available for comment.
Captain Dreyfus, the first Jew to serve on the French army general staff, was wrongly convicted of spying for Germany in 1894 and served five years of a life sentence. The affair was strongly tainted by anti-Semitism.
Writer Emile Zola took up his defense in one of the most influential open letters in history - "J'Accuse" - which accused the army general staff of fabricating evidence to cover up its mistake when it realized Dreyfus's innocence.
Dreyfus was brought back to France, re-tried and ultimately rehabilitated in 1906.