Jewish Graves Vandalized, Rostock Official Withdraws Apology
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Vandals damaged nearly half the graves at an old Jewish cemetery, police said Wednesday. The incident was the latest in a wave of anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner attacks.
A Rostock city councilman on Wednesday withdrew his apology for a comment that upset the country’s Jewish community. He faces expulsion from Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democratic Party.
Police said that 90 of the 190 graves at a century-old Jewish cemetery in Wuppertal, 36 miles north of Bonn, were vandalized overnight. The vandals knocked down marble tombstones and trampled on other parts of the cemetery.
Police had made no arrests and had no suspects.
Jewish monuments have been among those targeted in an ongoing wave of attacks on foreigners and asylum-seekers. There have been arson attacks at the sites of Nazi Germany’s Sachsenhausen concentration camp and Ravensbrueck slave labor camp for women.
The attacks have caused concern among Germany’s 35,000 Jews, who were angered when their leader, Ignatz Bubis, was asked Monday whether he considered Israel his ″homeland″ and what he thought of Palestinian-Israeli violence.
The Rostock city councilman who posed the question, Karl-Heinz Schmidt, resigned several hours later, saying he regretted asking the ″misleading″ question.
Rostock mayor Klaus Kilimann, who had pressured Schmidt to resign, and Berndt Seite, governor of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the state which includes Rostock, apologized Tuesday for the remark.
But Schmidt on Wednesday said he regretted the time and place of his question, not its content.
The Christian Democratic party said it ″had no choice″ but to start proceedings to expel Schmidt.
Rostock, a Baltic coast city, has been trying to revamp its image following anti-foreigner riots in August that forced authorities to evacuate a home for asylum seekers. The riots sparked ongoing xenophobic attacks nationwide.