BERLIN (JR) — Police in Germany are investigating after a Berlin memorial to the Jewish children rescued from the Nazis was vandalized, including with images of a mosque.
The vandalism occurred on New Year’s Eve, during a spate of unauthorized pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the German capital, according to Martin Stralau, a spokesperson for the State Criminal Police.
The memorial by the late Frank Meisler, installed near the Friedrichstrasse commuter train station in 2008, is dedicated to the roughly 10,000 Jewish children who were sent to safety in England on so-called Kindertransports in 1938 and 1939 by Jewish aid organizations. Many never saw their parents and siblings again. Meisler himself escaped Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport and eventually settled in Israel. The memorial features large casts of children holding suitcases.
Photos of the vandalism, which depicted buildings with a cross and a crescent, were circulated widely on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The daubing reflects the motif of defining Muslims and Christians as Palestinians who are oppressed by the Israeli state, which has been trending on social media around Christmas,” said Benjamin Steinitz, project manager for RIAS, the Antisemitism Research and Information Center based in Berlin.
“We are not aware of other desecrations of that kind,” he added.
Stralau told JR that someone who is invested in care for the memorial had informed the police of the vandalism and pressed charges. He said the graffiti had been successfully removed.
Though the perpetrators have not been identified, there were numerous arrests on New Year’s Eve in Berlin amid the demonstrations, which took place despite a formal ban by German police who said the rallies could lead to crimes including antisemitic displays.
The memorial is not the first Holocaust-related site to be defaced amid widespread graffiti tied to the Israel-Hamas war. A Holocaust library in London also had its sign vandalized and quickly repaired.