Holocaust Center Defaced Twice In Two Weeks

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(Photo courtesy of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County)

After the Holocaust Tolerance and Memorial Center of Nassau County (HMTC) was defaced on Saturday, Nov. 23, a second incident has occurred.
On Thursday, Dec. 5, the center released a statement informing the public that graffiti was drawn on the doorstep of the Glen Cove-based center. This time around, swastikas were drawn on the property.

“The Glen Cove Police Department notified us of a second incident of graffiti on our doorstep, this time including swastikas,” the HMTC said in a statement. “We are shocked and saddened about the appearance of this representation of Nazi ideology. We are now coordinating with the Glen Cove police and Nassau County officials about how to respond. In the meantime, we commit ourselves to continuing to educate young people and adults about the Holocaust and these offensive and hurtful symbols of hate.”

The first incident of 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 at that time, 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., 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 the first time we’ve had graffiti on the center’s property,” Steven Markowitz, chairman of the HMTC, said after the initial incident. “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 the 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.”

Several area politicians quickly denounced the act.

“This brazen act of vandalism targeting the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County is not an isolated incident, and we take it very seriously,” County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “We must never allow hateful acts, whether they come in the form of graffiti or violence, to find comfort in our communities.”

Curran also said there is a “zero tolerance policy for bigotry,” the same wording she used in her previous statement about the first graffiti incident at the center.

State Senator Jim Gaughran announced that in response to the second incident, he will create an Anti-Hate Task Force. It will “be comprised of elected officials, law enforcement, religious leaders, educators and other stakeholders to end this pattern of hateful behavior and address these disturbing hate crimes.”

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