Swastikas spray painted on Jewish monument in Hoogezand

Jewish Monument in Hoogezand
Jewish Monument in HoogezandPhoto: Ronn / Wikimedia Commons

Swastikas were spray painted on the Jewish Monument at the Hoogezand-Sappermeer station during the early hours of Sunday morning. The police are investigating and call on witnesses to come forward, NOS reports.

The monument stands on a spot where Jews were deported to Westerbork, and then to extermination camps, during World War II. Mayor Rein Munniksma of Midden-Groningen is appalled. "I am dumbfounded that such an action can occur in our municipality, or anywhere else. It is really incomprehensible that swastikas are drawn on a Jewish monument", he said, according to the broadcasters.

Letters also painted on the monument seem to spell the word 'Pegida'. Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the anti-Islam movement, denies any involvement. "This is really a scandalous action and we dissociate ourselves from this behavior", he said to the broadcaster.

Hanna Luden, director for the Dutch center for information and documentation on Israel, is shocked by the vandalism. "The entire Jewish community in Hoogezand was wiped out, and then someone does something like that. You just can't understand it."

The municipality tried to clean up the monument, but only partially succeeded. The swastikas are lighter now, but still visible due to the monument's weathered material.