Anti-Semites Deface Jewish Agency Building in Russia

July 5, 2012  

Swastikas and anti-Semitic epithets were found scrawled on a building used by the Jewish Agency in St. Petersburg in Russia. Among the epithets was one that read “All Jews should go to Buchenwald,” naming the death camp in Poland where hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

The scrawlings were discovered Sunday, and apparently were drawn late Saturday night. The building is located in a central neighborhood of the city. Besides the Jewish Agency, the building houses a number of other Jewish and Israeli institutions, including the Jewish University, a local effort.

There are about 100,000 Jews in St. Petersburg, Jewish Agency officials say, and they enjoy a rich cultural and communal life. Numerous Jewish and Israeli organizations, including Hillel, the Joint Distribution Committee, ORT, Chabad, and others operate in the city, and there is also an Israeli consulate located in St. Petersburg. The Jewish Agency has been in the city for two decades, providing services to tens of thousands of clients, the organization said, stressing that its role in the community was to increase the connection and identification of St. Petersburg Jewry with Jewish communities in Israel and the Diaspora.

A Jewish Agency official condemned the action, and expressed hope that police would quickly round up the perpetrators of what the official called “a hate crime directed at Jews, both in St. Petersburg and around the world.”

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