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France

Swastikas found at Holocaust memorial

Latest update : 2009-04-12

Anti-Semitic inscriptions have been found at the Drancy Deportation Memorial, outside Paris. France's interior minister has 'firmly condemned' the desecration at an 'emblematic place paying homage to French Jews who were deported and exterminated.'

AFP - Large black swastikas were found painted on a French memorial at a Holocaust deportation site outside Paris Saturday, the interior ministry said, condemning the desecration and vowing to track the offenders.
   
They were daubed on a railway wagon used to deport French Jews and on a commemorative pillar.
   
"A 1.5 metre (five foot) swastika was painted on the wagon, another one metre high was found on the pillar and a third was painted on the wall of a shop about 500 metres away," in Drancy, the ministry said in a statement.
   
Police later said that two slogans had been found on the pillar and one on the wagon, as well as two others on a nearby restuarant and a bakery with no links to the Jewish community.
   
Surveillance cameras show a man daubing the slogans, police said, adding they were examining the images.
   
Drancy's deputy mayor Jean-Christophe Lagarde said the slogans had been erased. He said that "unfortunately" it was not the first time such acts had been carried out.
   
Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie "firmly condemns the anti-Semitic inscriptions on the wagon and the pillar at an emblematic place paying homage to French Jews who were deported and exterminated," the ministry statement said.
   
The ministry vowed to "use all means possible to identify the perpetrators of this unspeakable act and bring them to book."
   
A Jewish student group Saturday condemned the vandalism at Drancy.
   
From 1941 to 1944 Drancy served as the main transit camp for French prisoners of the German SS. More than 76,000 people were deported from there to the death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor and only about 2,000 survived.
   
A further 3,000 are thought to have perished at Drancy from abuse, starvation, or disease.
   
The last Auschwitz-bound transport left the camp on July 31 1944, and the site was liberated 18 days later.
   
The Drancy memorial was built in 1976, designed by Polish-born Shelomo Selinger, who escaped the camps, where his father died.  

Date created : 2009-04-11

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