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Vandalism probe opened after swastika painted on Philadelphia wall adjacent to Holocaust memorial

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police have opened a vandalism investigation into the spray-painting of a swastika on a wall adjacent to a Holocaust memorial in Philadelphia over the weekend.

Authorities say the symbol, measuring about two feet by two feet and scrawled with green spray-paint, was reported Sunday on the wall adjacent to the Horowitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza next to the Ben Franklin Parkway a few blocks away from City Hall.

Surveillance video captured images of a man wearing a black mask and a dark jacket with a stripe across the chest and down the arms who appeared to scrawl the symbol on the wall at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, officials said. The symbol was removed later in the day.

Eszter Kutas, executive director of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation which manages the memorial, said news of the vandalism was “very, very upsetting, but not shocking for our community.”

Seeing rising antisemitism anywhere was very concerning, “but to have a hate symbol at a Holocaust memorial plaza is especially upsetting,” she told WCAU-TV.

The memorial, perhaps the oldest public Holocaust monument in the United States, was commissioned in the 1950s by Holocaust survivors and other Jewish community members. The monument was erected in 1964 and the site was redesigned in 2018 with new educational installations and artifacts added.