The desecration of cemeteries, as a result of intended destruction or as a casualty of war, disrupts and erases personal and national historical records. As graveyards are often the objects of sacred remembrance and emotional attachment, their destruction may evoke feelings of great hostility and grief.
The desecration of 150 gravestones in the Dutch town Nijmegen in 1993, an act of apparent neo-Nazi violence, left the cemetery blanketed in painted swastikas and words of racist sentiments. Attacks such as this have proliferated western Europe in recent years. In 1993 the tombstones of 58 French Muslim soldiers were vandalized at a military cemetery in Mulhouse, France. The desecration was believed to have been the result of religious hostility, as the 400 graves of Christians and Jews buried in the same location remained untouched. Similarly 28 tombs in the last remaining Anglican cemetery in Izmir, Turkey were desecrated in 1990 as a result of suspected Islamic fundamentalist hostility.