The Chief of Rabbi of Moldova has disclosed that between five and ten vandals desecrated the Jewish cemetery in the nation’s capital, Chisinau, over at least three nights in late October.
Several tombstones were destroyed and defaced with offensive graffiti and fascist imagery.
The majority of the Jewish population, approximately 12,000 of the 15,000 total in the country, live in the capital.
Despite the gradual decrease of the community, the Chief Rabbi maintains that the community still experiences extreme hostility, antisemitic hatred and mockery. He recounted, “I walk dressed like this [as a rabbi] every time and everywhere. At least five times per week, I hear jokes in the street about me. In this regard, nothing [has] changed.”
The Jewish cemetery has been targeted and vandalised in the same month for the previous three years, however it has recently been adopted by the Culture Ministry. In October 2018, the Government announced the opening of a Museum of Jewish History attached to the cemetery.
The museum was intended to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, combat antisemitism and to promote an education on culture, tolerance and peace, however little investment has been allocated and the Government is yet to construct the proposed building, security and exhibitions.
Following the recent incident, the Chief Rabbi criticised local police for responding seven days after the vandalism first occurred. Local authorities have subsequently issued a public commitment to identify and locate the perpetrators, who risk a fine or a year’s imprisonment if convicted in relation to the damage.