Photo Credit: Deputy Mayor Alain Fontanel's tweet
Workmen restoring the desecrated memorial to Strasbourg's Synagogue du Quai Kléber

A memorial stone at the site of Strasbourg’s Synagogue du Quai Kléber, which was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, was vandalized early Saturday morning, Mayor Roland Ries reported.

The Synagogue du Quai Kléber, a.k.a. Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) was the main synagogue of Strasbourg, France, before World War II. It was destroyed by the Nazis after they had annexed the city in 1940.

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The mayor wrote on his Facebook page: “I have become aware of the desecration of the stone on the site of the old synagogue. “I say it again: that’s enough!”

Noting that the stone lies next to the Avenue of the Righteous, dedicated to French gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, Ries said: “This site itself is a response to the perpetrators of these heinous acts because it memorialized both the atrocities and the horrors of the Nazi regime, and the resistance of the people of France, as it is also dedicated to the path of the righteous.”

The old Strasbourg synagogue on a 1918 postcard

The first memorial to the destroyed synagogue was inaugurated in 1976 near the place where it once stood. That memorial was expanded in 1994, and the tramway station nearby was given the name Ancienne Synagogue Les Halles. In 2012, the perimeter of the memorial was expanded again to include a newly created Allée des Justes-parmi-les-Nations dedicated to the Righteous Among the Nations.

Thierry Roos, a spokesman for the local Jewish community, stated, “There is no doubt this was an intentional act. […] They wanted to erase the memory of the synagogue on quai Kleber by destroying it twice.”

“The spirit of those who have risen to save the Jews of France in terrible conditions is still there today and it lives in us,” Mayor Ries said, adding, “I immediately went there to see the damage and to condemn this unacceptable act that targets the entire national community, because the Righteous are the honor of France.”

Deputy Mayor Alain Fontanel tweeted: “A new incident of anti-Semitism in our town,” and, “Quai Kléber synagogue was burnt down by the Nazis nearly 80 years ago. The memorial stone which marked this tragedy was vandalized overnight.”

“Sadly, history repeats itself,” Fontanel posted on Facebook.

On February 19, 96 graves were defaced with swastikas at a Jewish cemetery northwest of Strasbourg.

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