Europe's Largest Jewish Cemetery Vandalized

By JTA

Published August 22, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

After vandals stuck Europe’s largest Jewish cemetery in Berlin, Jewish leaders are asking area metal dealers to check for wrought-iron objects that might have been stolen from the cemetery.

Vandals recently damaged 16 gravesites and stole 47 items from the Weissensee Cemetery in the former East Berlin. According to the community, renovations on some of the tombs had been completed as recently as last April. The stolen items are worth about $16,000.

“But the immaterial damage is much greater,” the community said in a statement issued Monday.

“Theft in general is a serious offense,” Grigory Kristal, head of cultural affairs for the community, said. “But to destroy graves at the Jewish cemetery demonstrates a lack of respect and lack of understanding of the past.”

Observers suggested the motive was profit and not anti-Semitism, since specifically metal objects were removed. Such thefts reportedly are on the rise at cemeteries all over Berlin from all religious denominations. Police patrols and surveillance have been stepped up at Weissensee.

The Jewish community plans to contact metal dealers to warn them to be vigilant regarding sellers of potentially stolen goods.

The cemetery is the subject of a recent award-winning documentary, called “Im Himmel unter der Erde,” or “In Heaven Underground.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.