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Global Anti-Semitism:
Selected Incidents Around the World in 2004
Gravestones vandalized in St. Petersburg, Russia (AP Photo/Interpress)

Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Canada
Czech Republic France Germany Hungary Ireland
Moldova New Zealand Poland Romania Russia
Ukraine United Kingdom


November 14, 2004 –- Buenos Aires –- The walls of a Jewish cemetery outside Buenos Aires were desecrated with anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas. It is one of the oldest Jewish cemetery in Argentina.

November 15, 2004 – Buenos Aires – A school bus belonging to a Jewish school was defaced with a picture of Hitler and Nazi-related graffiti.

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July 18, 2004 -- Perth -- The largest synagogue in the west coast city Perth was defaced with anti-Semitic signs and graffiti, including "6 million more please with fries." Police made two arrests related to this incident. A member of a neo-Nazi group has been charged with racial vilification and criminal damage and a second suspect is facing one count of criminal damage. Both are due to appear in court.

January 5, 2004 -- Hobart -- Vandals used poison to create anti-Semitic slogans on the lawns of Tasmania's Parliament House. The words "Kill the Jews" and several swastikas were burned into the lawns

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June 1, 2004 - Villach - A memorial honoring Holocaust victims in southern Austria, consisting of 17 glass plates engraved with the names of 108 local Holocaust victims, was smashed. The memorial, which was created in 1999, was previously damaged by vandals in March 2003.

January 18, 2004 – Hinterbruehl – A Holocaust memorial was desecrated, with the word "lie" spray painted over a historical plaque. The memorial near Vienna is at the site of a former concentration camp.

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July 1, 2004 – Antwerp – In separate incidents, two Jewish men were attacked in the Antwerp area. A Jewish cyclist in Berchem had stones and bottles thrown at him by a group of 15 youths. He escaped injury. In the second attack, a young Jewish man was found bleeding on the street. His attacker was described as “Eastern European origin.” No arrests have been made.

June 24, 2004 – Antwerp – Four Jewish teen-agers, all students from the same school in an Antwerp suburb, were attacked by a group of 15 men described by authorities as “youth of Arab origin.” One of the Jewish students, who was stabbed in the back, was seriously injured with a punctured lung. In response to the attack, ADL wrote to the Belgian Ambassador urging an investigation.

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August 22/23, 2004 - Calgary – Vandals sprayed swastikas and anti-Semitic messages on a condominium complex a block from the Calgary Jewish Center.

June 27, 2004 – Toronto - Vandals spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti on bus shelters, sidewalks, private vehicles and fences in a Toronto suburb.

June 19/20, 2004 – Nepean – A synagogue was vandalized in an Ottawa suburb. Congregation Beth Shalom West was defaced with graffiti, swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans.

June 2/3, 2004 -- Quebec City -- Twenty gravestones were toppled by vandals in the historic Beth Israel cemetery. The cemetery is designated a national historic site by the Canadian government.

April 14, 2004 – Toronto - A Jewish cemetery was vandalized during Passover. Ten tombstones were overturned at The Pape Avenue Cemetery, the oldest Jewish cemetery in Ontario.

April 4, 2004 – Montreal – A Jewish school in the St. Laurent neighborhood of Montreal was set on fire by an arsonist. No one was hurt in the attack, but the blaze heavily damaged the library of the United Talmud Torah School. Police found a note with anti-Semitic comments on the exterior wall of the library. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin strongly condemned the attack declaring: "This is not my Canada. This is not our Canada.” In May, three were arrested, including two 18-year-old youths who were charged with arson and conspiracy. One of the teen-agers' mothers was charged as an accessory. The three are reportedly of Lebanese Christian origin.

March 19-21, 2004 – Toronto – A weekend-long rash of anti-Semitic vandalism was perpetrated on a Jewish cemetery, a Jewish school and a number of area synagogues. Twenty-two gravestones were overturned in the cemetery and other structures, such as benches and plaques, were destroyed. Swastikas were painted on the walls and on outside signs of the synagogues, along with slogans calling for death to Jews, and a number of windows were broken. The previous weekend, swastikas and anti-Semitic messages were sprayed on doors, cars and garages of over a dozen homes in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood not far from the cemetery and synagogues.

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Czech Republic

September 21/22, 2004 – Ostrava – Anti-Semitic graffiti was spray painted on a Holocaust memorial. Vandals sprayed Nazi symbols and anti-Jewish slogans on the memorial. The same memorial was defaced in 2003.

August 10, 2004 – Hranice - Some 80 tombstones were overturned at the Jewish cemetery in Hranice in the east of the Czech Republic.

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October 29/30, 2004 - Brumath - Close to 100 gravestones were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in Brumath, just outside Strasbourg. The vandals painted swastikas and "SS" symbols on 92 Jewish gravestones. French President Jacques Chirac called the desecrations "intolerable."

August 26, 2004 – Paris – The director of the main public library, the Bibliotheque Publique d’Information, announced that anti-Semitic inscriptions were found stamped into a dozen books about the Dreyfus case and legal issues. The vandals stamped the edge of the books with the words “Against the Jewish Mafia and Jewish Racism” with the addresses of a Holocaust denial and Islamic propaganda Web sites.

August 14, 2004 - Paris – Anti-Semitic graffiti, including a sign saying "death to Jews" and a swastika, was found scrawled on a wall on the grounds of Notre Dame Cathedral. Police are investigating.

August 9, 2004 - Lyon – Some 60 gravestones were vandalized with swastikas in a Jewish cemetery in Lyon in southeastern France. On August 15, a 24 year-old man turned himself in to Paris police and admitted to desecrating the graves in Lyon. He did not appear to have links to far-right groups and told investigators that he was inspired by inspired by a television documentary about American racist groups. A state prosecutor said that the man was inspired by a hatred of Arabs. More >>

July 28, 2004 – Saverne – Thirty-two tombstones were vandalized with swastikas, Stars of David and satanic “666” symbols in a Jewish cemetery in the Alsatian town of Saverne, north of Strasbourg. The vandalism was discovered by a family member visiting the cemetery.

June 11, 2004 – Rivesaltes – A Holocaust-era mural painted by Jewish children in a transit camp who were being held before being sent to Nazi death camps, was discovered vandalized in southwestern France. A historian visiting the site, where 4,500 Jews and Gypsies were held, found that the mural had been chiseled off the wall. According to The Independent, in 1942, a Swiss nurse at the camp asked the children to paint a Swiss landscape on the infirmary wall. The painting was discovered in 1999 and was to become the central exhibition of a Holocaust museum at the Rivesaltes transit camp. Half of the inmates of the transit camp, including 400 children, were later killed in Auschwitz. French government officials condemned the incident, and the Interior Minister promised that the mural would be restored.

June 4, 2004 – Epinay-sur-Seine – A 17-year-old Jewish student was stabbed with by a man with a knife shouting “Allahu Aqbar” (G-d is great in Arabic). The student was leaving a Jewish school in the northern Parisian suburbs. The attacker tried to hurt two other students with a screwdriver. The student was in serious, but not critical condition. President Jacques Chirac condemned the attack and the French Interior Minister, Dominque de Villepin, visited the scene.

May 30, 2004 – Boulogne-Billancourt – A 17-year-old Jewish youth was attacked outside his home in a Paris suburb by a group of young men yelling anti-Semitic slogans. The youth is the son of a local rabbi. President Jacques Chirac condemned the attack.

May 7, 2004 -- Villier-le-Bel – A small explosive device was discovered outside a synagogue north of Paris. According to media reports, the bomb was in a bag with the writing “Boom anti-Jews” and a swastika. On May 14, an 18-year-old man was found guilty of putting the fake bombs on the grounds of the synagogue and was sentenced to two months in prison.

May 6/7, 2004 - Verdun - A memorial to Jewish soldiers who died in the Battle of Verdun was vandalized. Nazi slogans and symbols were scrawled on the memorial. The Battle of Verdun was fought between French and German armies near the northern French city in 1916. In November 2004, a 22-year-old man was sentenced to a year in prison for perpetrating the attack.

May 4, 2004 – Paris – In the suburb of Cretiel, a rabbi and his young son were attacked on their way home from Friday night services.

April 29/30, 2004 – Colmar - A Jewish cemetery in the Alsace region in eastern France was vandalized. At least 127 headstones were spray painted with swastikas and anti-Semitic statements. The cemetery dates back to the 18th century. The attack was condemned by numerous French officials, including President Jacques Chirac.

April 4, 2004 -- Valenciennes – A synagogue in northern France was defaced with neo-Nazi slogans, including swastikas, and "One people, one empire, one leader, 59 years, sieg heil.” The 59 is believed to be a reference to the 59 years since the death of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

March 23, 2004 – Toulon – A Jewish synagogue and community center was set on fire. According to media reports, the arsonist broke a window and threw a Molotov cocktail into the building. There was minor damage and no injuries.

January 23, 2004 - Villiers-au-Bois - Two gravestones marked with Stars of David were damaged in the World War I cemetery of Villiers-au-Bois near the English Channel coast.

January 20, 2004 - Strasbourg - A parked minibus used to transport children to a Jewish school in the eastern French city of Strasbourg was burned. Police are investigating the attack as an arson.

January 20, 2004 - Strasbourg - Police reported that a group of assailants hurled stones at the door of a Strasbourg synagogue.

January 20, 2004 - Paris - A Jewish teenager was injured in an attack by Muslim youths at an ice-skating rink. The youths shouted anti-Semitic insults at the 15-year old boy before kicking him in the head and jaw with ice skates.

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August 15, 2004 – Berlin – A Jewish monument was smeared with a swastika. Police are investigating.

July 22, 2004 – Hagen – A fifteen-year old boy, along with two others, threatened visitors to a synagogue with a knife, and made anti-Semitic remarks. The visitors were leaving the synagogue at around 7 p.m. when they were confronted by the boys.

June 25, 2004 – Dusseldorf – Vandals sprayed swastikas and SS symbols on at least 40 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery.

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July 21, 2004 – Debrecen – Vandals defaced a Holocaust memorial with swastikas in the eastern Hungarian city of Debrecen. Police are investigating.

July 1, 2004 – Gyongyos – A Jewish cemetery in northern Hungary was vandalized. More than 90 gravestones were smashed just weeks after the cemetery had been renovated by the local town council to mark the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust.

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November 11/12, 2004 – Dublin – Three Jewish sites were vandalized. Swastikas were spray-painted on a synagogue, on tombstones in a Jewish cemetery, and a Jewish museum.

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Moldova/Transdniestrian Republic

May 5, 2004 – Tiraspol - Vandals threw Molotov cocktails at the synagogue in Tiraspol.

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New Zealand

August 6, 2004 - Wellington – A Jewish chapel was destroyed by fire and up to 90 Jewish headstones were pulled out of the ground and smashed at Makara Cemetery, on the outskirts of the nation's capital. Swastikas were cut into the cemetery lawn and etched on the chapel wall. Community officials described the desecration as the worst attack ever on the Jewish community of New Zealand.

July 15/16, 2004 - Wellington – Vandals smashed and overturned tombstones and carved a swastika into the grass in a Jewish cemetery. Some of the tombstones were over 100 years old.

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June 13, 2004 – Krakow – Police discovered the desecration of a 19th century synagogue. Vandals had painted swastikas and a Star of David hanging from gallows on the Tempel Synagogue.

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August 20, 2004 - Cluj – The wall of a Jewish cemetery in northwestern Romania was smeared with swastikas as well as anti-Semitic and fascist slogans.

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December 17, 2004 – St. Petersburg – Thirty gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in St. Petersburg were desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas. The cemetery had been vandalized in February 2004.

April 15/16, 2004 - Pyatigorsk – Fourteen tombstones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery. The cemetery had been previously attacked in June 2003.

March 29, 2004 – St. Petersburg – The city's only kosher restaurant had its windows broken by vandals.

February 15, 2004 -- St. Petersburg -- Vandals desecrated about 50 graves in a Jewish cemetery, painting swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on headstones. Police are investigating.

January 27, 2004 - Derbent - An explosion shattered several windows in a synagogue in Derbent in the the southern region of Dagestan.

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May 23, 2004 – Kiev – More than 50 gravestones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery. According to the chief rabbi of Kiev, headstones were broken and heavy old stones were thrown about. Ukrainian Interior Ministry spokesman Viktor Korchinsky denied any acts of vandalism, saying the graves were destroyed "all by themselves, because they were too old."

March 23/24 -– Odessa – Vandals broke several windows of the Osipova Street Synagogue. No one was injured.

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United Kingdom

November 17, 2004 – Aldershot – Police announced that a Jewish cemetery in Hampshire, in southern England, had been desecrated over the course of a month. At least 15 tombstones were vandalized with swastikas and other Nazi symbols.

August 21/22, 2004 – Birmingham – Sixty Jewish gravestones were destroyed in the Witton cemetery. Community officials reported that stickers with the logo of the neo-Nazi National Front were found on some of the stones.

June 18, 2004 – London – A "suspicious fire" damaged the synagogue and headquarters of Aish HaTorah, a Jewish educational group, in Hendon. Two Torah scrolls were torn and desecrated in the attack and the synagogue and offices suffered serious smoke damage.

June 17, 2004 – London – An arson attack on a London area synagogue destroyed religious books, including some that had been smuggled out by Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. A burning rag was thrown into the South Tottenham United Synagogue.

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Selected Anti-Semitic Incidents Around the World in 2003

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