“They have vandalized us again. What’s going on?” Montevideo Mayor Carlos Varela tweeted along with photos of the vandalized memorial. “We call for sanity, tolerance and peace,” he added.
Unveiled in 1994, the site in the country’s capital Montevideo has been hit several times in recent years by anti-Semitic vandalism, but this time has been the most severe with the graffiti taking up a larger area of the memorial, reported El Pais newspaper.
Vandals used black paint to write slurs including “The Holocaust of the Jewish people is the biggest lie in history,” “Only 300,000 Jews died from typhus” and “Gas chambers were a fraud.”
In 2016, the Israelite Central Committee, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization, funded the latest restoration, which included lights and staircases.
“We repudiate the anti-Semitic graffiti with concepts that deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people. The monument is a memory exercise to never forget the criminal regime that pursued and systematically murdered six million Jews for the only fact of their existence,” read a statement released by the committee.
“Today our pain is large and we are ashamed before the survivors of the massacre that are still among us, their children, grandchildren and all the Jewish people. Our country, which is democratic and pluralistic, the melting pot of cultures, does not deserve such atrocities,” the statement also said.
Last month, an evangelical Christian pastor from Uruguay fulfilled his promise to plant 1,000 trees in the Jewish state.
In March, Uruguayan Jews paid tribute to the memory of David Fremd, a 55-year-old businessman who was stabbed to death by a Muslim convert one year before in the small town of Paysandu. The killer reportedly yelled “God is great” in Arabic and later declared that he “followed Allah’s order.”
Uruguay is home to some 12,000 Jews, according to the Latin American Jewish Congress. It was the first country in South America to officially recognize Israel.