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Florida Holocaust Museum is tagged with swastika and the phrase ‘Jews are guilty’

Florida‘s Holocaust Museum has been spray painted with a swastika and the phrase ‘Jews are guilty’ as anti-Semitic attacks spiral across the US. 

The vandalism was discovered at the St Petersburg museum on Thursday morning by museum staff, with the local police department confirming they’re treating the attack as a hate crime.

Michael Igel, chairman of the board and a grandson of Holocaust survivors, said this attack on the museum ‘is not just repugnant. It is personal.’

‘The lessons of the Holocaust have not yet been learned, but the museum and the broader community who supports our vital work will never be intimidated by cowardly vandals, nor will we be deterred from our mission,’ he said. 

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States spiked by 74 per cent during the two week long conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian Hamas fighters.

In the fortnight before the violence erupted, 127 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across the US, according to hate watchdog the Anti-Defamation League.

But during the two week long clashes, which ended in a ceasefire on May 21, that number rose to 222 – an increase of 74 per cent on the fortnight before.

The phrase ‘The Jews are guilty’ was scrawled on the wall of the Florida Holocaust Museum

Police in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the Holocaust museum is located, said they're investigating the vandalism as a hate crime

Police in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the Holocaust museum is located, said they’re investigating the vandalism as a hate crime

President Joe Biden said Monday, ‘The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad – it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.’ 

Elizabeth Gelman, executive director of The Florida Holocaust Museum, said this shows the museum’s work is ‘more important than ever.’

‘Clearly, our society still has a long way to go,’ Gelman said in a Facebook post. ‘We remain committed to our vital mission to prevent future genocides and educate people about the dangers of antisemitism and other forms of racism and hatred.’

The graffiti has since been painted over, but locals on Facebook volunteered to paint – not knowing it was already done in a bid to voice their support for the museum, which is one of the largest dedicated to the Holocaust in the US. It is dedicated to the estimated six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War Two. 

‘Thank you so much everyone for your outpouring of support,’ The Holocaust Museum posted in the comments. ‘It was a chilling reminder this morning of the work that still needs to be done. Thank you for being upstanders and speaking out against this type of anti-Semitic vandalism.’

The Florida Holocaust Museum is one of the largest Holocaust museums in the country

The Florida Holocaust Museum is one of the largest Holocaust museums in the country

Several political leaders admonished the vandals. 

Florida Sen. Rick Scott Tweeted, ‘These disgusting anti-Semitic acts must end NOW. I’ll always stand with Florida’s Jewish community and pray that those responsible for this despicable act of hatred are swiftly brought to justice.’

US Congressman Charlie Crist, who represents St. Petersburg, said on Twitter that he’s ‘horrified by this act of anti-Semitic hate on the walls of Florida’s tribute to the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust.’

‘This disgusting crime shows exactly why we must preserve this history for future generations, so we may keep our promise of “Never again.”‘

‘The Florida Holocaust Museum is a vital leader in our community in educating everyone about the dangers of antisemitism, and this crime reminds us all to remain vigilant and raise our voices against all forms of bigotry, racism and hate.’

The president on Monday called the recent string of attacks on Jews 'despicable' and said 'it's up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor'

The president on Monday called the recent string of attacks on Jews ‘despicable’ and said ‘it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor’ 

Chilling footage of anti-Semitic attacks across the US emerge during this month’s conflict.

In Los Angeles, diners at a sushi restaurant were attacked by some members of a pro-Palestinian convoy of cars after being asked who was Jewish.

The day before, a man in Orthodox Jewish clothing was filmed being chased through a Los Angeles parking lot by an Audi SUV filled with protesters.

And in New York, a Jewish man was attacked for wearing a kippah, while an incendiary device was thrown in the city’s traditionally Jewish diamond district.  

Officers are asking anyone with information about those responsible to contact them at 727-893-7780 or text SPPD+ your tip to TIP411. 


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