Vandals have wrecked tombs at a Jewish cemetery at Auschwitz, southern Poland, the site of the biggest Nazi German concentration camp, the local Jewish cultural centre said today.
It said 16 tombstones had been knocked down, probably early this week. Days before, someone painted two large swastikas on the cemetery's wall, which municipal police quickly removed.
"It's difficult to say who did it. This cemetery is frequented usually once or twice a day. We noticed the desecration on Wednesday," said Mr Artur Szyndler of the Jewish Centre in Oswiecim, known as Auschwitz in German.
The cemetery was established more than two centuries ago by the then-vibrant Jewish community in the Polish town.
Most of the town's Jews were killed during World War Two by Nazi German occupiers, who built the world's largest concentration camp at Auschwitz and nearby Birkenau. The Nazis killed 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, in Auschwitz.
Poland had the largest Jewish population in Europe until the war when Nazis murdered all but 300,000 of the country's 3.5 million Jews. About 10,000 Jews remain in Poland.