Anti-Semitic Graffiti Mars Monument During Berlin Maccabi Games

The defaced monument shows a Jewish Star of David on the German flag

Berlin police say a well-known city landmark has been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti in an incident that comes as thousands of Jewish athletes are in the German capital for the European Maccabi Games.

Police said Saturday that an anti-Semitic slogan was found written Friday afternoon on part of the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that was painted by artists after the barrier between East and West Berlin was opened. The defaced section was the painting "Vaterland" or "Fatherland" — a work by artist Guenther Schaefer showing the Jewish star of David in the middle of the German flag.

Berlin authorities have concealed the wall until the graffiti can be removed. Schaefer told AFP that he planned to paint over the hate speech, restoring the monument's original message of unity.

Police say they currently have no suspects.

It's also not known whether the incident is connected with Berlin's hosting of the Maccabi Games, Europe's largest Jewish sporting event. Many of the events are taking place in Nazi-built sports stadiums.

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