Fifty-nine tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in the northern Slovakian town of Namestovo were vandalized, said police and a group that sought to protect the location on Tuesday.

Slovakia’s Jewish community labeled it “an unprecedented barbaric act.”

Police are investigating the incident at the cemetery, which dates to the second half of the 18th century. It was renovated in 2010.

The World Jewish Congress decried the desecration.

“The Jews of Slovakia have in recent years been fortunately spared of overtly aggressive expressions of anti-Semitism, but it has become sadly clear that in the climate of xenophobia and hatred spiraling across Europe, every minority community is indeed a potential target for malicious attack,” said the organization in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful to the Christian NGO Pamätaj–Remember for taking it upon itself to invest in the maintenance and upkeep of the Jewish cemetery in the absence of an active Jewish community in the town of Namestovo, and we sincerely hope that this example of interfaith support will continue to triumph over any and all manifestations of hatred.”

Continued the statement: “This was an inexcusable and direct attack against the Jewish community, which must be condemned at the highest levels. All authorities in Slovakia and across Europe must make it clear that such expressions of disrespect and hatred will not be tolerated.

“We thank the local police authorities for treating this attack with the severity that it deserves and hope that the perpetrators will be located and brought to justice at once.”

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