21 February 2007
More than 300 Jewish graves and a memorial to Holocaust victims have been defaced with swastikas in Odessa, southern Ukraine. Unidentified vandals desecrated the Holocaust monument with swastikas and the inscription "Happy Holocaust" and painted swastikas on 270 graves in a Jewish cemetery in Odessa, according to Jewish community spokesman Boleslav Kapulkin. The monument was erected at the site where thousands of Jews were massacred by the Nazis between 1941 and 1944. Police said the incident, which happened overnight Sunday, was a case of "hooliganism." They said 302 graves had been vandalized with swastikas in red paint. "It is savagery," said Kapulkin, who added that these type of incidents were rare in the Black Sea port town, for centuries home to a strong Jewish community. According to Kapulkin, it had been a "planned operation" as the attacks occurred in four areas in the towns. "Those who have done this are simply idiots and fascists," he said. "They are doing more harm to the Ukraine than to the Jewish community," he added.