On Wednesday, members of a synagogue in Orgiev, Moldova found that their building had been vandalized and defaced, with Torah scrolls thrown on the floor, the inner doors destroyed, and the menorahs stolen.
Local Jewish community leaders reported the desecration to the authorities who an investigation. The vandals had broken in through the back door of the synagogue.
“The pictures bring to mind photographs from the dark days in the history of the nation of Israel, in which Torah scrolls were torn in synagogues that were desecrated by pogroms, in Orgiev, in Kishinev and in Romania,” community leaders were quoted as saying by Chabad Online.
Anti-Semitism has been a problem in Moldova over the past few years. According to a 2013 entry on Euro Asian Jewish Congress’s website, “Moldova…seems to display tendencies to justify or even glorify the actions of Romanian radical right or Fascist figures from the 1930-1940, such as Ion Antonescu or Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.”
As of 2014, there are an estimated 15,000 Jews in Moldova, and over 10,000 in Chișinău alone.
However, anti-Semitism is still commonplace; several churches and political organisations still refer to anti-Semitic rhetoric. In addition, far right and neo-Nazi groups are active in the country. Because religion was heavily restricted in Soviet times it is likely that there are many more people of Jewish heritage in Moldova than practice the religion, but many simply may not know about it.