Jewish tombstones desecrated in Cape cemetery
Wellington is a country town in the Western Cape winelands, about a 45-minute drive from Cape Town. The Wellington Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1902.
While there are no anti-Semitic markings on the tombstones, the fact that the Jewish section of the cemetery was targeted is a concern, said Cape Board Director Stuart Diamond. The incident has been reported to the local police, and the community will be kept up to date on the findings.
“The Cape Jewish community is appalled that such violence and hatred should have been perpetrated by people living in a town renowned as a centre for excellence in its educational and theological studies,” wrote Diamond to the Bolander newspaper.
“We ask that the Drakenstein local municipality, businesses, and charitable organisations join us in embracing our anti-bias campaign called ‘No Place for Hate’. Let us make the Western Cape no place for hate for all who live and die in it.”
Diamond said the board was considering the cost of repairing the stones, and how to future-proof them. The obvious example might be to lay them flat. Diamond has learnt that the tradition of putting headstones upright was brought by South African Jews from Eastern Europe, as flat stones would be covered by snow in those climates.