April 1, 2020

Anti-Semitic Graffiti Found on Wisconsin Synagogue

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Anti-Semitic graffiti featuring a swastika, among other Nazi symbols, was found spray-painted in red on a Wisconsin synagogue on Sept. 22.

The words “I Jude KOS” as well as what appeared to be the Nazi “SS” logo were spray-painted in red on Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine, Wisc. Jude was the word emblazoned on the yellow badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. “KOS” could be a reference to the Knights of Satan gang, Congregation President Joyce Placzkowski told the Journal Times.

Rabbi Martyn Adelberg told the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle that the graffiti was “totally shocking,” as he had never seen it anything like it in his nearly 20 years working at the temple. Placzkowshi told the Journal Times, “I was just angry at the beginning. Now it’s just sadness. How can any person have such hatred for people they don’t even know?”

She added that the synagogue is looking into increasing security measures in response to the graffiti.

Anti-Defamation League Midwest condemned the graffiti, saying they were “appalled” at the graffiti.

“These words and symbols invoke the painful history of the Holocaust and are intended to intimidate and spread fear,” the statement read, adding that it was part of “a disturbing nationwide trend in vandalism targeting Jewish houses of worship.”

Racine Mayor Cory Mason said in a statement it was “deeply disturbing that this horrendous act was committed the week before Jewish people will celebrate the High Holy Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which are intended to be a time of reflection and celebration. This is a clear act of hate, and anti-Semitism of any kind has no place in our city.”

The vandalism comes as two other synagogues in Michigan and Massachusetts were vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti on the same weekend.