Westhoffen (France) (AFP)
"It is the whole Republic that is desecrated": After having traveled extensively the alleys of the desecrated Jewish cemetery of Westhoffen (Bas-Rhin), the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner announced Wednesday the creation of a "national office of fight against hatred "within the gendarmerie.
"I decided (Wednesday) morning, in connection with the director general of the national gendarmerie, to create with him (...) a national office of fight against hatred," said the minister.
Alongside Christophe Castaner: Jean-Louis Debré, the former president of the Constitutional Council, whose ancestors are buried in this cemetery, their graves are part of the 107 discoveries Tuesday smeared with swastikas.
The new office, according to Christophe Castaner, "will be in charge of coordinating for the national gendarmerie both this investigation (on Westhoffen) so that all means are mobilized, but also all investigations on anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Christian acts that we know on our territory in gendarmerie zone ".
- Debré, Marx, Blum families -
He "will also be responsible for accompanying all actors in all territories and make the link with the police, justice, so that the perpetrators of these despicable acts are sentenced," said the minister.
The Office will take the form of a "cell", like that which has been investigating for several months in Alsace on multiple acts similar to those committed in Westhoffen, said the minister's entourage.
Specifically, it will be "extend the device at the national level" in gendarmerie zone, according to the same source that specifies that the creation of the office itself can only be recorded in the framework of a white paper in preparation .
"Hate has struck, there is hatred that is there, on our national territory," said Christophe Castaner, adding: "we will make sure that the perpetrators who commit this here are condemned".
"You will not erase our memory or our identity, neither with painting nor with anything, we are here and we will stay here for a very long time," said the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg, Harold Abraham Weill .
In addition to the burials of the Debré family, the Westhoffen Cemetery is home to those of the Karl Marx families or former President of the Socialist Council Léon Blum.
"I do not forget that ten members of my family have never returned from Auschwitz," said Jean-Louis Debré, who was keen on wearing the kippa throughout the ceremony.
Feeling "very sad" and "very angry" but also "determination", the former minister launched a call: "Fight against hatred, all hatreds, France and Alsace this n ' is not it? "
Alsace has been confronted for several months with a proliferation of graffiti and degrading antisemitic and / or racist: in the department of Bas-Rhin alone, 34 were identified in 2019, according to the prefecture.
- "Crazy World" -
Before Westhoffen, 96 graves at Quatzenheim's Jewish cemetery, some 10 kilometers away, had been covered with anti-Semitic tags on 19 February. Earlier, on 11 December 2018, the Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim, north-east of Strasbourg, was also targeted.
The author or perpetrators of these profanations have not yet been arrested, to the chagrin of the president of the Consistory Israelite of the Bas-Rhin, Maurice Dahan.
"It's not possible that nobody ever sees anything, we can not continue to accept that people are silent, that those who see something do not speak," he said on Wednesday. omerta has no place in Alsace ".
"The people who did that, it's racy +, it's racist," said Eugene Hoffmann, retired 66 years. "I do not understand that we do something like this (...) We're really in a crazy world ..."
© 2019 AFP