Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019 - 13 of Kislev, 5780

Holocaust memorial damaged for the fifth time in the Belgian city of Ghent

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BRUSSELS —A Holocaust memorial in the Belgian city of Ghent has been damaged for the fifth time on Monday. Unknown people unscrewed the bolts of the monument, a huge copper toll.

The fact that this happened less than 48 hours after the commemoration of Kristallnacht in the city suggests that it is not a banal vandalism but a conscious act of antisemitism. Kristallnacht or ‘Night of Broken Glass’’ on November 9, 1938, saw thousands of Jews arrested, attacked or killed by the Nazi in Germany. Synagogues were set on fire, stores were destroyed.

Ghent’s mayor Mathias De Clercq, immediately took extra measures to protect the monument which is located in a park on the Lindenlei and recalls the deportation of 67 Jews from the city during WWII.

During the commemoration of Kristallnacht on Sunday, the mayor called the previous destruction of the Michael Lustig monument “a shameful act that goes against everything we stand for in Ghent.’’

The city had spent 20,000 euros on strengthening the monument anchoring after it l had already been pulled out of the marble floor last November. The repair was just finished.

“I gave the order to restore the monument as quickly as possible. In addition, the city submits a complaint against unknown.”

“This is the fifth time that the monument has been damaged,” deplored Alain Bloch, a Jewish figure in the city.

“The culprit has not been found once. This time it must be cleared. I’m against cameras, but in this case I’m afraid it’s the only way to protect it,’’ he said.

“We are already seeing an increase in the number of anti-Jewish incidents,” says Alain Bloch. “Also in Ghent. That people who trivialize the events of the Second World War are now sitting in parliament, is no surprise.”

Cameras are not an option for the time being, but the mayor is taking four other measures. “There will be additional lighting, a knee-height fence will be erected around the memorial to make it clear that it should not be entered, a placard must provide more insight into the significance of the monument and there will be additional police patrol.”

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