Polish police launched an investigation into the actions of two young women who struck what observers said were provocative poses while standing next to headstones in a Jewish cemetery.
The investigation, which was opened this week, follows a complaint by the international commemoration group From the Depths to the Polish state prosecutor regarding photos of the women that surfaced online. They are suspected of violating a Polish law against offending religious sentiment at a place of worship or holy site.
One undated picture shows an open-mouthed woman wearing a black leather coat while pressing her chest and one of her thighs to an ornate Jewish headstone. The other, dated in 2012, shows the other woman standing on a headstone while wearing a very short miniskirt and a belt emblazoned with the word “Jesus.”
Following the complaints, Polish media, including the tabloid Fakt and the news website of the the RMF24 radio station, reproduced the pictures and reported on From the Depths’ complaint.
According to Fakt, at least one of the pictures was taken at a Jewish cemetery near Kalisz in central Poland.
“We don’t believe this behavior was an attack or necessarily anti-Semitic, but it is symptomatic of disrespect and indifference to Jewish heritage sites in Poland,” said Jonny Daniels, founder of From the Depths. “Poland has thousands of Jewish cemeteries – possibly more than Jewish citizens. They will not be preserved unless the population treats them with respect. Today it’s a stupid picture, tomorrow it’s a stupid act of vandalism.”