Elie Weisel’s Childhood Home Vandalized

Police in Romanian town of Sighet say investigators combing through security camera footage to identify perpetrators
Elie Wiesel's childhood home in Sighet, Romania was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti on August 3, 2018. (Screenshot via Realitatea.net)

Unidentified individuals spray-painted offensive graffiti on the external walls of a museum for Elie Wiesel in Romania, where he was also born, in what police said was an anti-Semitic incident.

The fluorescent pink graffiti that was painted on the Memorial House Elie Wiesel in Sighet in eastern Romania read “public toilet” and “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler” as well as “Anti-Semite pedophile.”

Wiesel was one of the world’s most famous Holocaust survivors before he passed away in 2016 at the age of 87. A Nobel prize laureate for literature, he was honored last year by locals in his hometown. They marched from the museum, which was built where Wiesel was born and grew up, to the train station wherein 1944 he boarded with his family a train to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

Police are investigating the incident, which they consider an anti-Semitic hate crime, but have no suspects in custody, the news site Sighet247 reported Saturday.

“What was done is unforgivable,” said Chaim Chesler, co-founder of Limmud FSU. Chesler’s group, which sets up cultural events for Jews across the former Soviet Union and other places where many Russian-speaking Jews live, was responsible for the 2016 memorial march for Wiesel in Sighet. “Elie is a symbol for all Holocaust survivors and that makes this incident especially painful. Everything must be done so that such cases do not repeat themselves.”

In June, Maximillian Marco Katz, founding director of MCA Romania-The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, told JTA that Romania has adequate laws for fighting anti-Semitism, but enforcement in lacking. He cited several recent cases, including the failure by authorities to prosecute Gheorghe Funar, a former mayor of the city of Cluj who last year said in a filmed speech that the “Romanians are victims of Jews within” who perpetrated “the greatest Holocaust in human history.”

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