The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, was vandalized sometime overnight Wednesday to Thursday with anti-Semitic graffiti including a swastika, according to multiple reports.
Vandals targeted the museum by spray-painting a swastika on the side of the building and the phrase “the Jews are guilty,” Fox 13 reported Thursday.
The U.S. is experiencing a surge in anti-Semitic sentiment and attacks during the Israel-Gaza conflict that has taken place in recent weeks.
Police are investigating antisemitic vandalism discovered Thursday morning on a wall of the Florida Holocaust Museum.https://t.co/jVlAlrSvOL
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) May 27, 2021
Workers painted over the writing later in the day.
The police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. (RELATED: Joe Biden Remains Silent On Wave Of Anti-Semitic Crimes In US)
“For the first moment or two, I cried,” Toni Rinde, a Holocaust survivor now residing in Florida, told Fox13. She added that the community has to “yell and scream and teach against hatred,” and that she had always seen America as the “golden empire.”
“If you hate me, you are going to hate everybody else,” Rinde told Fox13. “That is the very beginning of the destruction of our human way of life.”
“We left Europe to come to a free country like the U.S. where we thought this would not happen,” Toni’s husband, John, told Fox 13.
— St. Pete Police (@StPetePD) May 27, 2021
Earlier in May, a Jewish family walking in Bal Harbour, Florida, was reportedly targeted by a group of men who proceeded to verbally attack and throw garbage at the family. An armed bystander stepped in to stop the attack.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have condemned the surge in anti-Semitic crimes, with Schumer stating that the country “must stand together against the forces of hate.” Republican lawmakers have also condemned the anti-Semitism seeming to sweep the country.