St. Mary Polish American Society, based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, posted chilling photos of three cemeteries graffitied with swastikas to Facebook Thursday.
The graffiti sprawled across several tombstones and monuments in the St. Matthew’s, Old St. Matthew’s and St. Benedict’s cemeteries. The Polish community was alarmed upon waking up to the news of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, only to discover vandalism in their neighborhood, according to the Facebook post. (RELATED: Several Hand-Drawn Swastikas Reportedly Found On Walls Of Union Station In Washington DC)
A statement released by the Society said, “For the Polish community buried at St. Benedict’s, this hits particularly hard as it harkens back to the destruction wrought by the Nazis in Poland during World War Two. Racism and hatred of any form have no place in our community or in the world, but when it affects the very place where our relatives are buried, that requires swift and decisive action.”
For over 100 years the Schuylkill River corridor in Montgomery and Chester Counties has been home to many Polish descendants, according to the organization’s Facebook page.
“Besides the fact that it’s vile and hateful, something like this hits you where you’re most sensitive: your loved ones,” Police Chief John Myrsiades told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We want people to know we feel their pain and will be aggressive in pursuing this.”
Local authorities are conducting an investigation to identify who was behind the vandalism, the outlet reported.
A prayer service will take place tonight at St. Benedict’s Cemetery in Plymouth Township as the parishes work together on clean-up efforts, according to the Facebook post.