“Anti-Semitic graffiti had been spray-painted on the office walls of Elizabeth Midlarsky, a clinical psychologist and Holocaust scholar at Columbia’s Teachers College on the Upper West Side of New York,” The Washington Post reports. “The vandalism included swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur, ‘Yid,’ painted in bright red on the white walls of her office foyer. The outer door had been closed but not locked, one student said.”
It’s really hard to believe something like this could happen in this day and age.
Professor Midlarsky walked in on the scene with her students in tow.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Midlarsky told The Washington Post. “I’m usually not a fearful person, but they got me. I’m afraid.”
Why would anyone possibly do this?
“I walked in the door of my office and found myself staring at a swastika and was absolutely shocked,” A Jewish professor and Holocaust scholar at Columbia Teacher’s College said. https://t.co/sBaxBugm6c pic.twitter.com/X1Y54TBhrg
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) November 29, 2018
“They got me. I’m afraid”
The ignorance of history that so often contributes to racism and anti-Semitism, in particular, appears to be on the rise. The Washington Post also noted that “In February, the Anti-Defamation League reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than in 2016, marking the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since the organization began collecting incident data.”
A survey in April revealed that basic facts about the Holocaust and World War II, in general, were not known by a depressing number of millennials.
“According to that survey, two-thirds of millennials and 4 out of 10 Americans overall don’t know what Auschwitz was,” NPR reported in April.
“And while 6 million has long been accepted by historians as the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, nearly a third of Americans think it was far fewer,” NPR continued. “And just over half of Americans think Hitler came to power by force. In fact, he was democratically elected.”
These are important facts that all people should know. It’s astonishing how quickly this history is fading and is frankly, inexcusable, given the access we have to information in the age of the internet.
Two-thirds of millennials don’t even know what Auschwitz is.
Of course, basic lack of knowledge about the Nazis and the horrific mass murders they carried out does not lead most people to become anti-Semites who vandalize Jewish professors’ offices.
We should remember the mistakes of the past so that they are never repeated.
The New York Police Department is currently investigating the vandalism. Professor Midlarsky says she has “no idea who was behind it.” We can only hope they are caught and brought to justice soon.