People walk past a damaged tombstone at the Jewish Preobrazhenskoe cemetery in St Petersburg
The Jewish community of St Petersburg, Russia, has expressed concern about a new desecration against the city’s Jewish cemetery.
Some 50 tombstones have been desecrated at the St Petersburg Jewish cemetery, the second such act in ten days in the Russian city, sources within the local Jewish community said.
“50 to 60 gravestones were broken last Saturday night in the Preobrazhenskoye cemetery,” Mendel Pevzner, chief rabbi of St. Petersburg told EJP.
|Acts of vandalism at different cemeteries, including Russian Orthodox ones, have became more frequent now, and it indicates a general decline in the population’s culture|
Mark Grubarg of the Jewish community of St Petersburg
No inscriptions were found on the stones and police said they couldn’t not yet give a clear response about the culprits of the desecration.
“The first time one could speak of vandalism but now it has happened again. We are calling on the authorities to take the appropriate measures as this cemetery belongs to the city,” the rabbi said.
Ten days ago, about 40 graves were destroyed.
Earlier, an unidentified group threw stones through the windows of the "Shalom" restaurant. The same restaurant had already been attacked in early October. No anti-Semitic signs were left by the perpetrators.
The cemetery had been vandalized a year ago. The culprits were caught and identified as members of an extremist group.
Different cemeteries targeted
“Acts of vandalism at different cemeteries, including Russian Orthodox ones, have became more frequent now, and it indicates a general decline in the population’s culture,” Mark Grubarg, a representative of the religious Jewish community, declared.
He said that the Jewish community had appealed to police for help, and matter was now being investigated.
|The first time one could speak of vandalism but now it has happened again. We are calling on the authorities to take the appropriate measures as this cemetery belongs to the city|
Mendel Pevzner, chief rabbi of St. Petersburg
It is possible that the gravestones had been damaged by thieves collecting non –ferrous metals to be sold as scrap, Grubarg said.
There seemed to be no link direct link between the attacks on the restaurant and anti-Semitism.
The cemetery in the Nevsky districtof St.Petersburg is the former Preobrazhenskoye (Transfirguration) cemetery. It was the place where only Jews were buried until the end of the XIXth century. It was then divided into two parts and the burial site of the victims of the Bloody Sunday in 1905 when Tsarist troops shot people who petitioned Tsar Nicholas II.
Around 100,000 Jews are living today in St.Petersburg.