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Paris mayor decries vandalism of a memorial honoring people who rescued Jews in World War II

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PARIS (AP) — A Paris memorial honoring people who distinguished themselves by helping to rescue Jews in France during the country’s Nazi occupation in World War II was defaced Tuesday with painted blood-red hands, vandalism decried as “unspeakable” by the Paris mayor.

The attack on the Wall of the Righteous comes in the context of tensions and anger in France over the Israel-Hamas war. Antisemitic acts have surged in the country with the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in western Europe.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the memorial was vandalized overnight Monday to Tuesday. She said she has filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor.

“No cause can justify such degradations that dirty the memory of the victims of the Shoah and of the Righteous who saved Jews at risk to their lives,” Hidalgo said in a statement.

The wall bears the names of more than 3,900 people recognized as having risked their lives to help save Jews in France.

Ariel Weil, the mayor of Paris’ central districts, posted photos on the social media platform X of the damage. The photos showed more than two dozen blood-red hands painted on the memorial’s stonework and others on a wall in the Paris neighborhood.

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