I’m not sure what all of you have been taught about the Holocaust, but my teachers always considered it a vital subject for students to learn, so that it never happens again. Knowledge is power and inaction is just as bad as villainy, right? Unfortunately, it is clear that anti-Semitic sentiment is present in our nation which is supposed to embrace faith of all kinds.
A few weeks ago in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, three cars were torched and the words “fuck the Jews”, “KKK” and “SS” were drawn on benches to mark the anniversary of Hitler’s Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass.
Quick synopsis: November 9 and 10, 1938 in Nazi Germany and parts of Austria — the Nazis destroyed synagogues, shops, and entire towns to terrorize the Jews. Seventy-three years later to the day, neo-Nazis in Brooklyn were making sure that Jews fear for their lives. Several Jewish residents in this neighborhood are Holocaust survivors, and this incident produced flashbacks to the inhumanity and cruelty they suffered.
Jewish students at universities across the country have fallen victim to odious behavior too, in the past decade. In fact, in 2006, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a study that documented an alarmingly high rate of anti-Semitism on college campuses.
Six years later, we don’t have to look far for evidence of hatred. According to Brooklyn police, there were beer bottles lying all over the ground near the site of the vandalism, and one detective said it “looks like they had a party.” This anti-Semitic party, fueled by historical knowledge (creepy!) resulted in thick black smoke pouring from the torched cars. The vandals woke up several horrified residents on the block in the middle of the night. It is clear that Corona bottles and detailed knowledge of the Holocaust make for a terrifyingly ironic combination.
Following the violence, state and city elected officials and Jewish leaders marched in Midwood on Sunday, November 13 to rally for tolerance, acceptance and better security in their neighborhood. But the hatred continues. Just last week, someone defaced the Avenue J subway stop in the neighborhood, adding the letter “EW” to make a sign read “Avenue Jew.” Police are still looking for the perpetrator.