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Jewish cemetery Westhofen, near Strasbourg, December 4, 2019, after desecrating 107 graves (AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG)

The wave of shocking anti-Semitic actions on Alice that desecrated Westhofen's Jewish cemetery is an expression of a region that is deeply celebrated in the age-old tradition of welcoming but sometimes rejecting Judaism. according to researchers.

And in this "complicated" story, of course, there is the insufficient memory of hatred inherited from Nazi occupation, they explained to AFP.

"The rise of anti-Semitic activity has been a trend in recent years," says Bas-Rhin Prefecture.

In this section and since the beginning of the year, there have been 37 "anti-Semitic, racist or anti-immigration" cases, four times more than in 2015. Nine of these ten acts this year were anti-Semitic.

Among them, three denominations of Jewish cemeteries, from December 2018 to December 2019 – Hurlisheim, Quensenheim and Westphen. Already in 2015, the boys were raped by 250 stars from the Sarre-Union cemetery.

Dozens of anti-Semitic and / or anti-immigration graffiti have also been reported in recent months on public buildings.

It is clear that Alsace is far from anti-Semitic exclusivity, which is growing nationally (in 2018, + 74% of anti-Semitic activities, according to the Interior Ministry). But the discovery of hundreds of star vitamins found in Westhofen on Tuesday raises questions.

– Ideological Mapping –


Jewish Cemetery Westhofen, Alaska, December 4, 2019 (AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG)

"Who would dare to claim that Alsace has nothing to do with anti-Semitism," asks Michelle Deneken, president of the University of Strasbourg.

The "problem" that can be explained by the "complicated and contradictory" history of one region, the "welcoming of a certain country" and the harmonious coexistence with the Jews and the "exclusion" of others, explains sociologist Freddie Raphael.

Of all the regions of France, Alsace is one where "the presence (of Jews) is the oldest," as the important Jewish community in Strasbourg testified, George Bischoff notes today in Unistra.

Often rural anchors, synagogues and cemeteries were displayed in the countryside, and their "visibility" was much more important than elsewhere, continues political scientist Richard Kleinschmager.

Jewish cemeteries, often "isolated", are the main target for those in "race or anti-Semitism," he said.

Alicas's 1940-1945 and Third Reich's annexation of the Moselle neighborhood pushed the region into a "very strong ideological hippie," according to Bishof.

He was "five years old in the Nazi propaganda", an extremely violent propaganda that "leaves no trace", according to Audrey Kitchelevski, a professor of modern history in Strasbourg.

Like any other place, the Alsatian Jews were persecuted and annihilated. Returning survivors of the Holocaust after the war was "difficult," he says. Some found it difficult to "recover property" from neighbors who were convinced they would not return.

– "Silence" –

Perhaps he also missed a "real case of memory" during this time period, says Mr Bischoff. "The Alsatians considered it, and it was not wrong, they were just victims." "By doing so," we evicted many things. "


Westhofen Jewish Cemetery, near Strasbourg, December 4, 2019 (AFP / Patrick Hertzog)

Freddie Rafael also points to a "purely vitimistic discourse" after the war. "There was no work (…) memory and history for a long time," a "latent factor" that could explain persistence in anti-epidemic theses.

"Those who are concerned with this ideology (…) are more young people," Bishoff says. According to Bas-Rhin Prefecture, Jean-Luc Marx, investigators are on the path to a "well-integrated small group" that has been crawled into "Nazi and anti-Jewish ideology."

Richard Kleinschmager rejects version of 'anti-epidemic' in Alsace: "Nothing special in the current social, religious or political life of the region" allows it to be confirmed.

But for Freddie Rafael, "most troubling" is "the silence, the way that that part (of the population) backs away, is afraid to interfere." The words of Israeli President Morris Dahan of Words-Rhinistic Reflecting on Wednesday to speak with gendarmes "people who know something".

Alsace still has solutions to counter hate, in particular the image of "inter-religious dialogue" developed in the region, admits to Mr. Rafael. “We have to pay for life and hospitality. They will not have our hatred. ”

DSA / ha / nm

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