Anti-semitic graffiti daubed in German on the window of a Paris bagel shop has provoked outrage, with the French interior minister warning that “the most tragic lessons of history” were being forgotten.
“Juden”, the German word for Jews, was scrawled in yellow paint on the window of a Bagelstein café in an apparent reference to the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of France.
Benjamin Griveaux, the government spokesman, condemned “filthy anti-semitism in the streets of the city of light”.
Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, posted a photograph of the graffiti on Twitter, saying: “An anti-semitic tag in the heart of Paris… as if the most tragic lessons of history no longer illuminate [our] consciences.”
The graffiti in the ultra-chic Île Saint-Louis neighbourhood was discovered on Saturday morning as “yellow vest” anti-government protesters were gathering in Paris.
Gilles Abecassis, one of the café owners, stressed that there was no evidence of “yellow vest” involvement.
“They wrote it in yellow, but that may be a reference to the [yellow] star of David [which the Nazis forced Jews to wear],” he said.
Ariel Weil, the local mayor, mocked the unknown perpetrators, who he said were among a handful of people who were “nostalgic for the [Third] Reich.” He posted a photograph of Albert Einstein, with the inscription “Albert Bagelstein”.
With an estimated 600,000 Jews, France has the world’s largest Jewish population after Israel and the United States, but has faced accusations of rising anti-semitism in recent years.
Thousands of Jews left France after a 2015 attack on a kosher supermarket, three years after an attack on a Jewish school claimed by a group affiliated with al-Qaeda. Many are believed to have returned, but the murders of two elderly Jewish women in Paris in 2017 and 2018 sparked further anxiety.