BERLIN (JTA) – A famous mural on remnants of the Berlin Wall was defaced with antisemitic graffiti. The attack came during a week when several thousand Jewish visitors participated in the first-ever European Maccabi Games to be held in Germany. Police quickly covered the graffiti with a scaffold after the vandalism was spotted on Friday, July 31, and the artist restored his work on Sunday, Aug. 2, according to German news reports. The mural, which features an Israeli flag superimposed on a German one, was painted in 1988 as a reminder of the 40th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Nazi Germany.
The artist, Gunther Schaefer, most recently restored the outdoor artwork last March. It reportedly has been defaced at least 51 times over the years. He has documented many of the defacements on his website. He invited followers to join him on Sunday and help touch up his mural.
The incident may be related to the visit to Berlin by some 3,000 Jews from around the world for the 14th European Maccabi Games. According to an online report by the rbb broadcasting company, a group of young Jews was subjected to a verbal antisemitic attack near one of the sports venues, and in another incident police arrested a man who hurled antisemitic insults at two guards outside the hotel where most of the athletes are staying.