Desecration of Jewish Graves Angers French

From Associated Press

Thirty-four tombs at a Jewish cemetery were desecrated by vandals, and the body of an elderly man was dug up and impaled on an umbrella, authorities said Thursday.

Leaders across the political spectrum reacted with outrage at the desecration, one of the worst such incidents ever in France. It occurred two days after a nationwide telecast of a three-hour documentary about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

Interior Minister Pierre Joxe said several tombs in the south-central town of Carpentras were left “in conditions so abominable that one can’t describe them without embarrassment.”

“I learned with horror of this criminal act,” President Francois Mitterrand said in a telegram to Freddy Haddad, a Jewish leader in Carpentras.


Police said the body of an 81-year-old man who died about two weeks ago was found impaled on an umbrella when the desecration was discovered early Thursday. Grave markers were knocked over and flower pots were trampled, but no graffiti were found.

“It is unimaginable that such deeds are possible in France,” Joxe said.