July 15, 2019

Nearly 80 Jewish Gravestones in France Found Covered in Swastikas  

Some of the 80 gravestones vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in the eastern French village of Quatzenheim, Feb. 19, 2019. (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

About 80 Jewish gravestones in a cemetery in France were discovered vandalized with swastikas Feb. 19, hours before 14 political groups, French Jews and allies started marching against the recent rise of French anti-semitism.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the eastern French village, Quatzenheim, where the cemetery is located, that afternoon and promised that his government would take action.

“This looks like absurd stupidity,” the French leader told the Associated Press. “We will take action.”

The French president is also scheduled to hold a moment of silence with other French leaders, including National Assembly President Richard Ferrand and the head of Senate, Gerard Larcher, Tuesday evening at the Holocaust memorial in Paris.

The marches were organized following French authorities reporting a 74 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 over 2017.

Among the leaders scheduled to march are Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and former French Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in French society. We would like to think otherwise, but it is a fact,” Philippe told L’Express magazine. “We must be totally determined, I would say almost enraged, in our will to fight, with a clear awareness that this fight is an old one and will last a long time.”