300 graves and a Holocaust monument were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery on Sunday. (YNet News)
Vandals have disturbed graves and overturned crucifixes at two other cemeteries.
The New York Times reported:
Five teenagers who were detained after overturning as many as 250 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France over the weekend had a clear “anti-Semitic motive,” a local prosecutor told reporters on Wednesday.
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The motives of the youths, ages 15 to 17, were originally unclear. But the prosecutor, Philippe Vannier, said at a news conference in the Alsatian town of Saverne that the five teenagers had all admitted that they had taken part in the vandalism and had made Nazi salutes, spit on Jewish symbols and used terms like “dirty Jews” and “Heil Hitler.”
Mr. Vannier called for the opening of a preliminary investigation into the episode and asked for the teenagers to be placed under supervision in an educational institution for delinquent or troubled youths. If formally charged and found guilty, they could face up to seven years in prison. The desecration in the eastern town of Sarre-Union caused an outcry in France, prompting President François Hollande to visit the site.
French authorities also announced on Wednesday that vandals had disturbed graves and overturned crucifixes at two other cemeteries and had drawn swastikas at two more in four small French towns. “These shameful acts are an offense to the values of our Republic,” Mr. Hollande said in a statement condemning the spate of desecrations.
Some 300 graves were vandalized in Western France last weekend.
A stone monument to Holocaust broken at the cemetery.