The Kindertransport memorial in Berlin has been defaced with graffiti during pro-Palestinian protests on New Year’s Eve.

The “Trains to Life – Trains to Death” memorial is an outdoor bronze sculpture by architect and sculptor Frank Meisler, outside the Friedrichstraße station in the German capital.

The sculpture depicts two sets of children, one representing the 10,000 children saved on the Kindertransport trains to safety, and the other representing the 1.6 million mostly Jewish children who were transported by train to their deaths in the Nazi camps across Europe.

The memorial was vandalised during illegally organised protests in the German capital. 

Images of the vandalism show at least two depictions of what appears to be the Islamic Dome of the Rock, which is situated on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Authorities had banned pro-Palestinian protests during the Christmas and New Year holiday period for security reasons, and hundreds were arrested. German police were forced to deal with thousands of unruly protestors who spent the evening attacking security forces and vandalising statues of children.

Walter Bingham, who survived the Holocaust due to the Kindertransport, and celebrates his 100th birthday this week, said, “It’s a terrible thing to happen but unfortunately not surprising. I am sure the culprits are ignorant of its true meaning or history. I hope the police will manage to catch them.”

George Shefi, born in Berlin in 1931, was seven years old when his mother managed to send him to England on the Kindertransport, a decision which saved his life.

He said: “What happened to the memorial is scandalous. I call on Germany to lead the fight in Europe for democracy. What happened to the Kindertransport memorial is only a symptom of what can happen, but for me, being one of the ‘kinders’, it is a very personal affair.”

Revital Yakhin Krakowski, deputy director general of the International March of The Living added, “The monument was not vandalised by accident, the damage to it was intended to weaken the Jewish spirit by damaging the most important symbols to us. There is a clear connection between the denial of the Holocaust and the denial of the acts of terrorism on October 7”.

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