Holocaust memorial stones splattered with paint in Vienna

Holocaust memorial stumbling stones were splattered with yellow paint in Vienna, European Jewish organizations and Israeli diplomats said on Monday.

The Vienna Police said on social media to the Austrian Union of Jewish Students that the appropriate authorities had been notified of the incident, in which Stolpersteine we desecrated in Vienna’s 2nd district.

The Union shared a picture of three memorial blocks covered in yellow paint.

 “It should be a warning sign to all of us when the memory of the dispossessed, deported, and murdered Jews is literally soiled,” the Union said on Monday.

Swastic graffiti on Babi Yar Holocaust memorial (credit: COURTESY ANNA LENCHOVSKA)

The European Jewish Congress said on Tuesday that the covering of the stones in paint disrespected the victims of the Holocaust and that those responsible should be held accountable.

“Heartbreaking to see stumbling stones paying tribute to Jews who were deported to concentration camps smeared with yellow paint in Vienna,” said the EJC.

Israeli officials react to the incident

Israeli Ambassador to Austria David Roet said he was “appalled by the desecration of memorial blocks in Vienna’s 2nd district, which commemorates the Jews who were killed or expelled by the Nazis during the Holocaust.”

“I stand in solidarity with the Jewish Community of Austria and all people of conscience against this act of Antisemitism and hate,” Roet continued.

Emmanuel Nahshon, the deputy director general for public diplomacy at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said that the  incident was spawned by “the Unholy Trinity of Extreme Left, Extreme Right and Islamists,” which “are the biggest danger to Jewish life since the Shoah.”

New outrage over the incident came the same day that Vienna mayor Michael Ludwig condemned the destruction of a flag with a Star of David at the Vienna Seestadt Aspern’s Campus of Religions. 

“There is no place for racism and antisemitism in our city,” said Ludwig. “Vienna is the city of social cohesion and peace. I work hard to achieve this every day.”

The Jewish flag, which is one flag of a religion among many, had previously been vandalized in 2022. According to Algemeiner, a video was posted on Tiktok that showed youths scaling a flagpole and dragging it along the ground.