Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rabbi Who Survived Holocaust Hides in Terror as Synagogue Is Defiled

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rabbi Who Survived Holocaust Hides in Terror as Synagogue Is Defiled

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH DOVKANTS;INDIRA DAS-GUPTA

AN ELDERLY rabbi who survived the Holocaust is behind locked doors today, shocked and terrified after his London synagogue was ransacked and daubed with a swastika.

Neo-Nazis are being blamed for the attack which the rabbi, who is not being named, had wanted to keep secret for fear of further violence.

He lived through Hitler's pre-war persecution of the Jews in Germany and survived the genocide that followed but, said a community leader today, the desecration of his synagogue has left him terrified.

A swastika was painted under the Star of David on the rabbi's lectern in the synagogue in Finsbury Park. Green paint was poured over walls and the Ark, where sacred Biblical scrolls and scriptures were stored. At least 20 windows were smashed and the building was ransacked with a prayer shawl, scriptures and ancient books defaced.

The community spokesman said of the rabbi: "He didn't want to say anything about what happened but one of the congregation was so angry they wanted to have it reported."

The attack raised fears that the wave of anti-semitism sweeping Europe has arrived in Britain. It comes at a time of concern over the rise of Jean-Marie le Pen and his success in the French presidential elections. In this country, candidates from the British National Party are expected to do well in local elections in towns with a history of racial tension.

The synagogue is close to the Finsbury Park Mosque where militant Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri was banned from preaching last week.

He has been accused of inciting hatred with his fundamentalist doctrine and there were fears that the attack on the synagogue may have been carried out by radical Muslims.

But the evidence of the swastika and a Union flag placed prominently against the lectern has persuaded many among the mainly elderly congregation that far-Right extremists were involved. …

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