Artist Paints Over anti-Semitic Graffiti That Marred His Berlin Wall Mural

Artists says this is the 51st time that his mural has been the target of vandalism since it was painted in 1990.

DPA - A Berlin artist repainted his mural on a section of the former Berlin Wall on Sunday after it was smeared with anti-Semitic slogans.

The graffiti, discovered on Friday, had defaced Guenther Schaefer's Vaterland mural depicting the Israeli flag superimposed over a German flag on Berlin's iconic East Side Gallery along the Spree river.

The East Side Gallery, the longest standing section of the Berlin Wall and the world's largest outdoor gallery, features more than 100 original murals by artists from all over the world.

Schaefer, one of the gallery's original designers, said it is the 51st time that his mural has been the target of vandalism since it was painted in 1990. He says most of vandalism incidents originated from neo-Nazis, racists or religiously-motivated fanatics.

Berlin stepped up security in the city last week after more than 2,000 athletes arrived for the opening of the Maccabi Games, a Jewish sporting event first held in 1932 in response to the exclusion of Jewish athletes from sporting clubs in Europe.

Berlin's hosting of the event in the Nazi-era Olympic Park marks the first time the games are being held in Germany after the Holocaust in which some 6 million Jews died.

An archive photo from August 13, 1997, showing artist Guenther Schaefer retouching the paint on a part of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery in Berlin. (AP)