Days after Romanian media reported about neglect at the Jewish cemetery of Husi in the country’s northeast, 73 of its headstones were smashed in a suspected hate crime.
The vandalism in Husi, which used to have a large Jewish community, is one of the worst reported cases in Europe this year.
The Fedrom umbrella group of Romanian Jews condemned the vandalism in a statement published Wednesday.
“Such events of a profoundly anti-Semitic nature cannot be accepted in the democratic world, and seriously affect democracy in Romania,” wrote Aurel Vainer, who heads Fedrom.
Police are investigating the vandalism there, which closely followed a report on the Ziar news website titled “Husi’s Jewish cemetery looks like it’s been bombed.” The report was about the severe neglect there that followed a fire that raged in the cemetery for two hours last month.
President Reuven Rivlin tweeted a picture of the defaced headstones, saying, "Once again, we are faced with the terrible sights of Jewish graves defiled and destroyed, this time over seventy graves in Romania," noting that the Romanian government is working to counter anti-Semitism.
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He added that "Jew-hatred is still with us. I trust that the Romanian authorities will do whatever necessary to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Through education and remembrance we can counter the wave of Antisemitism that we see around the world, and particularly in Europe."
In neighboring Moldova, at least 80 headstones were smashed last week during restoration work on Chisinau’s old Jewish cemetery. The head of Moldova’s Inspection and Restoration of Monuments Agency, Ion Ştefanita, told Unimedia that the damage was caused by felled trees. Cutting them so they would have not smashed headstones would have endangered restoration workers, he said.
Separately, a rabbi’s headstone in the Polish city of Czestochowa was also vandalized last month. It was the second act of vandalism recorded there since December.