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Germany: statues of Jewish sporting heroes who were persecuted by the Nazis destroyed

Police in Frankfurt have launched an investigation after commemorative statues of two Jewish sporting heroes were destroyed in successive nights over the past weekend.

Statues of Lilli Henoch and Walther Bensemann, two German-Jewish sporting heroes in the 1930s who were persecuted by the Nazis, were removed from their pedestals and destroyed with “extreme violence”, according to Fritz Backhaus of the city’s Jewish museum.

Lilli Henoch, a track and field athlete, was murdered by the Nazis in 1942 in Riga Ghetto, Latvia. Walter Bensemann, a footballer, escaped to Switzerland following Hitler’s rise to power, where he died in 1934.

The statues were erected in multiple cities in Germany to commemorate Jewish athletes who were persecuted by the Nazis from 1933 onwards.

The police say they have no leads, but the fact that these figures were targeted strongly suggests that this is indeed an antisemitic incident.