Synagogue Vandalized in Moldovan Capital

Anti-Semitic symbols found scrawled on synagogue in Moldovan capital of Chisnau; lawmaker says vandalism does not reflect opinion of most Moldovans.

Vandalism defacing a Chisinau synagogue was "shocking" and did not reflect the opinion of most Moldovans, a top lawmaker said Wednesday, according to an Infotag news agency report.

Workers at the main synagogue in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Sunday found drawings of anti-Semitic symbols sometimes used by ethnic Romanian nationalists in the former Soviet republic near the building's entrance.

"It (the vandalism) in no way reflects the attitudes and spiritual condition of Moldovan citizens," said Mihai Gimpu, Moldova's speaker of parliament. "I am sure police will bring the vandals to justice."

Drawings on the synagogue walls included a swastika, the SS symbol of Nazi Germany shock troops, a regional map showing Moldova to be part of Romania, and the words "Bessarabia is Romanian land."

The province Bessarabia was controlled by Romania until World War II and a 1940 annexation by the Soviet Union. The region was a Soviet republic until 1991, and the foundation of the independent state Moldova.

Anti-Semitism remains a sensitive issue in Moldova because of past massacres carried out against Chisinau's Jewish population, by Tsarist Russian troops between 1903 and 1905, and German and Romanian troops between 1941 and 1943.

A small number of right-wing Moldovans have called for the former Soviet republic to return to Moldovan sovereignty, and the removal of non-ethnic Romanians from the region.

"This is nothing less than a direct provocation against (Moldova's democratic) coalition government," Gimpu said.

CBC television