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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Jewish graves attacked in France and in the Czech Republic

A police officer inspects graves desecrated by vandals with Nazi swastikas and graffiti on 56 graves and war memorial in a Jewish cemetery in eastern city of Lyon August 10, 2004. More than 300 tombs or graves have been desecrated in France since April. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

CNN: LYON, France (AP) -- Vandals scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti on dozens of tombstones in Lyon overnight, authorities said Tuesday, the third time a Jewish cemetery has been desecrated this year.

Swastikas and inscriptions with Adolf Hitler's name were painted on headstones in de la Mouche cemetery in this southern French city, the same burial site that was desecrated by skinheads in 1992.

Richard Wertenschlag, Lyon's chief rabbi, told France Info radio that the vandalism was an affront to the Jewish community and to France's values.

"How is it that after the Holocaust, someone can still attack Jews -- even those who are dead -- for the simple reason that they are Jews?" he said.

The vandalized graves were at the back of the cemetery, a distance from the guardian's house, and among its oldest tombs. A monument to Jewish World War II soldiers was also covered with graffiti, the French Veterans Affairs Ministry said. . . .

In the Czech Republic, dozens of tombstones have been found toppled at a Jewish cemetery in the eastern of town Hranice, police said Tuesday.

Spokeswoman Michaela Sedlackova said that some 80 tombstones were overturned in the cemetery in the town 187 miles east of Prague. She said it was not clear when the incident happened. The cemetery dates to the 17th century. Sigmund Freud's brother, Julius, was buried there in 1858.