Vandals deface Paris monument for those who helped Jews during Holocaust

Red handprints painted on monument in Paris for Righteous Among the Nations, commemorating those who helped Jews escape Nazis during WWII occupation of France

A memorial in Paris honoring over 4,000 Righteous Among the Nations who heroically saved Jews during the Holocaust was defaced on Tuesday. Red handprints were spray-painted on the Wall of the Righteous Among the Nations and in nearby areas.
Approximately 20 of these handprints were discovered beneath the wall at the Parisian memorial, which commemorates the acts of thousands of French citizens who rescued Jews during the Nazi occupation of France from 1940 to 1944. More red handprints also were found near the wall, which stands close to the Holocaust Museum in the heart of the French capital.
2 View gallery
קיר חסידי אומות העולם בפריז, אחרי שהושחת
קיר חסידי אומות העולם בפריז, אחרי שהושחת
The handprints
(Photo: X)
Monday, May 14, is the anniversary of the first major deportation of French Jews by the Nazi regime in 1941.
An investigation has been opened into the vandalism for aggravated damage, the Shoah Memorial said on Wednesday.
The investigation concerns "the offense of willful damage to a classified property and due to belonging to a nation, ethnicity, race or religion", specified the public prosecutor. A controversy broke out in France at the end of April when Parisian students exhibited their red-painted hands to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
French President Emmanuel Macron strongly condemned the vandalism. “To degrade the Wall of the Righteous Among the Nations, the barrier of Enlightenment against Nazism, is to undermine the memory of these heroes as well as that of the victims of the Shoah,” he said. “The Republic, as always, will remain inflexible in the face of odious anti-Semitism,” he posted on the X platform.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday revealed that the memorial had been vandalized within the last 24 hours and that she has filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor's office. “No justification can excuse such actions, which disgrace the memory of Holocaust victims and the Righteous Among the Nations who saved Jews at the risk of their own lives,” she declared in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) also condemned the incident, describing it as “support for the massacre of Jews.”
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סימני ידיים גם ליד בתי ספר
סימני ידיים גם ליד בתי ספר
Handprints near schools as well
(Photo: Antonin UTZ / AFP)
City Hall workers quickly arrived to remove the red handprints from the Wall. Ariel Weil, the mayor of the central Paris district, informed the French news agency AFP that additional red handprints were found at 10 other locations within the historic Marais district (the Fourth Arrondissement), which is home to many Jewish residents. Handprints also were discovered near schools and kindergartens.
France, home to approximately 440,000 Jews – the largest Jewish population in Europe and the third largest globally after Israel and the United States – has witnessed a disturbing surge in antisemitism in recent months. A recent survey reported in the La Parisienne, Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth revealed alarming statistics: 61% of French Jews have experienced antisemitic incidents in real life, often accused of being “responsible for or guilty of the policies of the Israeli government.” Furthermore, 44% conceal their Jewish identity in public, and a staggering 80% believe that the police or judiciary will not adequately address the issue.
Additionally, since October 7, 1 in every 4 French Jews have been the victim of antisemitic incidents, with 73% facing threats and insults on social media. Some 37% have transferred at least one of their children to private schools out of safety concerns, and 20% have removed mezuzahs from their homes.
France also has a significant Muslim community. Over 50% of young Muslims believe Jews control the media and politics, while 34% think that Jews use their victimhood of the Nazis as an excuse.
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