Holocaust memorial vandalised with swastika graffiti

A Holocaust memorial in Philadelphia has been vandalised with a swastika as acts of antisemitism continue to rise across the country.

The Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza said in a post that earlier this weekend, an unidentified figure vandalised a wall of the plaza, drawing a large swastika.

The memorial’s post described it as “a disgusting act of antisemitism that comes amid a staggering spike in anti-Jewish hatred across Philadelphia and the country more broadly”.

While the swastika graffiti has been removed from the wall, according to NBC, the organisation is asking anyone who may have any information about the vandalism to contact the Philadelphia Police Department.

Disturbing surveillance footage caught the moment a figure dressed in dark clothing painted the swastika on the memorial that is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.

“This is a reminder for our public that antisemitism is real in our communities,” Eszter Kutas, the executive director of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, said to CBS. 

The vandal was caught on CCTV (Courtesy of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation)
The vandal was caught on CCTV (Courtesy of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation)

“We need the public’s help in making sure these incidents are lessening in our communities.”

Ms Kutas told ABC that the incident happened around 1.30am on Sunday. Police were called to the scene just after 2pm and were quickly covered by emergency crews, according to the local outlet.

Police have described the suspect as an unknown male wearing a black mask and a dark-coloured jacket, possibly brown, with a stripe across the chest and down the arms, local media said.

The bronze sculpture at the memorial located at 16th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia, was the first public monument in North America to honour Holocaust victims, according to their website.

This vandalism comes days after the Anti-Defamation League released new data, which shows antisemitic incidents across the US have shot up to a staggering 360 per cent, compared to the same period last year, following the Israel-Hamas war that erupted on 7 October.

"As people, we really need to come together to fight all forms of hatred and bigotry together," Ms Kutas said to ABC.

As the war reached its 100th day, life in many areas of Gaza has been obliterated and claims that more than 23,000 people have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Spikes in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias incidents have also been reported across the US, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

This is not the first antisemitism incident in Philadelphia after two swastikas were also spray painted on a wall near a senior apartment complex that is home to several Jewish people last month, CBSreported.