Jewish Holocaust Scholar at Columbia Finds Swastikas Spray-Painted in Office

Sophie Weiner just a moment. 0 comments
Hate Crimes Anti-semitism Vandalism Elizabeth Midlarsky

Elizabeth Midlarsky, a Holocaust scholar and professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College found her office defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti on Wednesday, the Daily News reports. Two swastikas and the anti-Semitic slur “yid” were written on the walls in red spray paint.

“I walked in the door of my office and found myself staring at a swastika and was absolutely shocked,” Midlarsky told the Daily News.

This isn’t the first time Midlarsky has been targeted with anti-Semitic graffiti. In 2007, as she was publicly protesting former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia, she found another spray painted swastika on her office door, along with her name crossed out.

“I could see why someone was really angry, because I had taken a lot of public positions,” she told the Daily News of that event.

But now, Midlarsky says she doesn’t understand why she would be a target.

“It’s very upsetting. It makes me feel very vulnerable,” she said.

From the Daily News:

“It’s very bad. I just hope it’s not someone within the TC community,” [Katrina Webster, 28, a first-year masters student at Teacher’s College] said. “The goal of education is so that something like this doesn’t happen.”

Another student, 30-year-old Ben Riley, called the episode “horrible.”

“And it’s really just sad that things like this still happen today,” he said. “Every time you hear about something like this, it just makes you lose a little bit of faith in humanity.”

“Things like this” have been happening a lot recently. From other incidents of vandalism to deadly violence like the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh last month in which an anti-Semite killed 11 people, hate crimes in America are on the rise.

Columbia Teacher’s College President Thomas Bailey said he is working with the police to investigate the crime.

“We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society,” Bailey wrote in a statement. “We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.

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