Pig's head left at Lithuanian synagogue
24 August 2010
A pig's head adorned with a Chasidic hat and fake peyot (side-locks), and with a Star of David carved on its forehead, was left outside a synagogue in Kaunas, Lithuania, on Saturday. EJP reports:
Lithuania's Jewish organisations on Monday condemned an apparent neo-Nazi attack in which a pig's head was left at the entrance of a synagogue by unknown perpetrators.
"The Lithuanian Jewish community and the Religious community of Lithuanian Jews judge this as Nazi provocation aimed at insulting the ethnic and religious feelings of Lithuanian Jews," their leaders, Simonas Alperavicius and Chief Rabbi Chaim Burstein, said in a statement.
The statement said that the pig's head was found on Saturday -- the Jewish holy day -- outside a synagogue in Lithuania's second city Kaunas.
The use of a pig is particularly offensive because Judaism, like Islam, considers pigs unclean and bars the consumption of pork.
Simonas Gurevicius, executive director of the Lithuanian Jewish community, told AFP the incident should be treated as an attack on all believers, not only Jews.
"We hope that Lithuanian society will not be impassive, as this act of a few anti-Semitic vandals does not reflect the attitude of Lithuanian society," he added.
Kaunas police have launched a formal investigation but there are no suspects so far, officer Gintautas Dirmeikis told the Baltic News Service.
Lithuania was once home to a 220,000-strong Jewish community, and Vilnius was a cultural hub and world centre for the study of the Torah, known as the "Jerusalem of the North". At the end of the 19th century, the number of synagogues in Vilnius exceeded one hundred.
But 95 percent of Lithuania's Jews perished during the country's 1941-1944 German occupation at the hands of the Nazis and Lithuanian collaborators.
Today there are no more than 5,000 Jews in Lithuania, of whom around 500 live in Kaunas, Gurevicius said.