An investigation has revealed that the root cause of the complete burn-down of a ceremonial hall of a Jewish section in Vienna’s central cemetery was antisemitic arson.
An arson attack has completely burnt down the ceremonial hall of the Jewish section of Vienna’s central cemetery. Several swastikas were painted on the outside wall of the room, the Austrian news portal Exxpressen reports.
There were no personal injuries, but the property damage was significant.
According to the Vienna police, it was initially unclear what caused the fire, but investigations at the scene revealed that it was arson. The Austrian intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (LVT), was also involved in the search for the perpetrators.
In der Nacht wurde am jüdischen Teil des Zentralfriedhofs (IV. Tor) ein Brand gelegt. Der Vorraum der Zeremonienhalle ist ausgebrannt. An Außenmauern wurden Hakenkreuze gesprayt. Personen kamen nicht zu Schaden. Feuerwehr und Polizei ermitteln. pic.twitter.com/LLvCrrXIge
— Oskar Deutsch (@DeutschOskar) November 1, 2023
Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen issued a statement expressing his deep shock at the events.
„The number of antisemitic incidents in Austria has increased significantly in recent weeks. This must stop,” the President said.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer said, „antisemitism has no place in Austrian society, and we will fight it with all political and constitutional means.”
The arson attack was the third antisemitic attack in the Austrian capital in recent weeks. Last week, pro-Palestinian protesters tore Israeli flags from a synagogue, and a few days earlier, an immigrant youth smashed the window of a kosher butcher’s shop while shouting „Allahu Akbar.”