Wednesday night, local policemen discovered that vandals had defaced a monument commemorating the hundreds of Jews burned alive in a barn by neighbors in 1941 in Poland. Anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas drawn in green paint covered the stone monument in Jedwabne. The walls surrounding the site were painted with slogans “No need to apologize for Jedwabne,” and "They were highly flammable." The vandals deliberately obscured the Hebrew and Polish signs.
Regional police in Bialystok are investigating the incident. They believe the attack to be linked to other neo-fascist graffiti incidents in the past few weeks in Eastern and Northeastern Poland. On August 10, anti-Semitic slogans and Nazi symbols were found on the former synagogue in Orla. The Islamic Center in Bialystok was also targeted, as vandals destroyed the ground floor and tried to set the building on fire. Polish and Lithuanian bilingual signs were subsequently found damaged in Punsk, a town that borders Lithuania.
"This is a perfect example of vandalism and stupidity, but we don't know the exact motives yet," Andrzej Baranowski, Bialystok police spokesman told the BBC.
On Thursday, Elan Steinberg, Vice-President of American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, called on Polish authorities to located and punish the perpetrators of the crime.
“Holocaust survivors are horrified by this violent act of hate and demand swift punishment of the perpetrators by the Polish authorities,” Steinberg explained to the Jerusalem Post. “Coming on the anniversary of the Second World War, the target of the vandals' hatred was not only the Jewish community but the standing and reputation of modern-day Poland.”