(JTA) – Several tombstones were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in southern Poland.
The vandalism occurred recently in Olkusz, a town located 25 miles northwest of Krakow, according to a report released Monday on the Facebook page of the Monitoring Centre for Racist and Xenophobic Behavior, a Polish nongovernmental watchdog.
The group presented three photos of the desecrated headstones on its page. One showed a pentagram – a five-pointed star that is a Christian symbol sometimes associated with Satanism – painted on a gravestone. Smashed headstones can be seen in the background.
In its report on the incident, the Co-ordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism said dozens of headstones were destroyed in Olkusz.
Another headstone had the name Jan Pawel – the Polish name of Pope John Paul II – spray-painted on it.
There are no suspects in the case.
The Jews of Olkusz were deported to Auschwitz in 1942, and most perished there, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. Two years earlier, German troops gathered all the men in the town square and murdered one of them after humiliating and beating the rest. The July 31 incident in 1940 was known locally as “Bloody Wednesday.”
The troops posed to have their pictures taken with local Jewish men, including Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Hagerman, who is seen standing barefoot while donning a prayer shawl upon which the soldiers had urinated. In the photograph, he is seen standing over at least six Jews who were forced to lie on the pavement at the feet of the smiling German troops.
Hagerman was murdered in 1942 in Majdanek.