Days before Thanksgiving, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) became the latest victim of hate. Racist graffiti, sprayed in blue paint, was seen scattered across the organization’s property.
“It’s the first time we’ve had graffiti on the center’s property,” Steven Markowitz, chairman of the HMTC, told the Syosset-Jericho Tribune. “It’s very unnerving for two reasons. One, it makes us feel like more of a target than we have been up until now. We’ve been lucky over the years to not be subject of graffiti or any anti-Semitic attacks of any kind. Second, we teach that the Holocaust didn’t start with concentration camps. They drew graffiti on Jewish-owned homes and stores. It’s very unsettling.”
The vandalism included the “N” word, sprayed right next to the Children’s Memorial Garden, dedicated to the memory of millions of Jewish children murdered during the Holocaust. While there was not a specific piece of graffiti targeting Jews, the center said this is exactly what happened before the Holocaust began. Four teenagers were seen on camera walking next to the HMTC and the adjacent Webb Institute at 10:08 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, according to the Glen Cove Police Department, which was notified right away by the HMTC. There was also blue paint found on a plaque with a quote from one of the Warsaw Uprising organizers, Vladka Meed, which reads, “Know that in the most difficult moments, when death is ever-present, we try to maintain human dignity.
“It’s clear that hate crimes of any type, including anti-Semitism, are on the rise,” Markowitz said. “The only answer is education. We’re living in a very turbulent time with rapidly-changing demographics on Long Island. Your neighbors don’t look like you anymore. There’s different cultures and different languages. People have a difficult time with change and they lash out, which is what we say.”
The incident, revealed to the public on Monday, Nov. 25, was immediately condemned by the area’s elected officials.
The full story will be updated in next week’s Syosset-Jericho Tribune.