The Jewish section of a major cemetery in the Austrian capital has been set ablaze and desecrated with swastikas, according to a religious leader in the city. The attack follows a surge in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe.
Oskar Deutsch, a leader of Vienna’s Jewish community, reported the vandalism and arson in a social media post on Wednesday, saying areas of the city’s central cemetery were severely damaged.
“During the night a fire was set on the Jewish part of the central cemetery,” he wrote. “The anteroom of the ceremonial hall [was] burned out. Swastikas were sprayed on exterior walls. No people were injured. The fire department and police are investigating.”
Deutsch shared photos of the aftermath, showing firefighters inspecting a heavily charred and smoke-filled ceremony hall. What appear to be crude swastikas were also seen scrawled in fluorescent paint on a wall outside.
A spokesperson for the local fire service, Gerald Schimpf, told the Austria Press Agency that the fire seemed to have broken out sometime on Tuesday night, but had mostly died out on its own by the time firefighters arrived the next morning.