Dozens of gravestones in the medieval Jewish cemetery in Worms vandalized with paint

Two of the smeared tombstones in the Jewish cemetery in Worms. 
(Photo: Stadtverwaltung Worms)
Worms - At least 50 gravestones in the medieval Jewish cemetery in Worms, Germany were smeared with paint in a vandal attack. A person the local media said appeared “confused” was detained. An investigation is under way but the city has initially ruled out antisemitism as a motive. The attack on what is Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in situ took place Thursday and was reported on Friday.

“For reasons still unknown, a cemetery visitor, who meanwhile could still be found there, smeared a large number of historical tombstones with paint,” the Worms city web site said.

The web site ran a picture showing two ancient gravestones smeared with some sort of greenish paint.

It said:

It is not yet possible to determine exactly how many gravestones are affected because the color often resembles the patina of the stones. Currently, the estimates are from 50 to 100 gravestones.

An antisemitic or generally political background can currently be excluded based on initial knowledge. 

The Wormser Zeitung newspaper said a 47-year-old woman had been detained on the spot. It said the woman was not from Worms; she had appeared confused and, among other things, had insulted city workers “because they wore pants and not long skirts.” 

The city stated that it was “horrified” by the incident and officials strongly condemned it.

“We currently do not know what material the paint is made of and how we can remove the smears without damaging the valuable tombstones,” Mayor Hans-Joachim Kosubek said on the city web site.

According to initial findings, he said, “the main gravestones in the medieval part of the cemetery are affected, stones that are particularly sensitive due to their age.”