The Jewish prayer room at Frankfurt International Airport was desecrated by antisemitic vandals who daubed a swastika on the Torah ark, the German daily Bild reported Saturday.
The vandalism, revealed by the Frankfurt Jewish community on Friday, only involved the ark, and did not damage the Torah scrolls housed inside. It was unclear when the act of vandalism took place. According to AP, citing the German news agency DPA, the room had been closed for a considerably long period due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Jewish community is in touch with Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, the transportation company responsible for operating the airport, which promised to conduct a full, detailed investigation, Bild reported.
The vandalism was highly criticized by Germany’s Orthodox Rabbinical Conference, one of the country’s leading Jewish organizations. “It is simply sad. This hatred of Jews must finally stop,” the organization said in a statement, according to AP.
“The ugly grimace of antisemitism does not stop even in a highly secured area, at a place of encounter, silence and stopping, where people from all over the world meet briefly while traveling and are in transit.”
Frankfurt Airport is the fourth busiest in Europe and the 13th busiest worldwide. It is the main hub for Lufthansa, one of the world’s largest airlines.
The airport also served as an important staging post for Israelis during the pandemic lockdown, as for several months it was where stranded passengers seeking a flight home would have to get to to board a flight for Tel Aviv. Many Israelis stranded in Frankfurt for a some time as they waited for a flight.
The incident also comes as antisemitism continues to rise worldwide, with many incidents of vandalism, hate speech and even assault taking place throughout the Western world.According to official figures, German police registered 2,428 antisemitic crimes in 2020, AP reported.