Twice a month Midwood resident Moishe Veysman, an Orthodox Jewish man who survived the Holocaust, goes to the Holocaust Memorial Park in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn to honor the memory of friends and family who perished during the Holocaust and whose names are written on the stones in this one-of-a-kind memorial to the six million Jews who were slaughtered at the hands of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich during World War II in Europe.
Moishe was angered and horrified when on August 8 at around 9:00 AM he found that the beloved memorial had been vandalized. The park is New York City’s only public Holocaust Memorial, located on West End Avenue between Emmons Avenue and Shore Road in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
The defacement appears to be a hate crime rather than mere mischief as evidenced the fact that the word “f— ” was spray painted next to the Star of David on the base of the Eternal Light, the centerpiece of the memorial. Pieces of broken glass and a bottle were also found. “This is a big tragedy,” Vaysman said, “Millions of people were killed and this is the memory for everybody so it never happens again.”
Councilman Nelson expressed outrage, “A lot of people come here, they pray here. This is like a punch in the heart.” He is offering a $1000 reward to anyone who comes forward and turns this person in.
Perhaps two footprints found in the wet spray paint near the base of the memorial might give the police a clue to who desecrated this memorial, sacred to many who visit regularly. Theresa Scavo, Chairperson of Community Board 15 stated upon noticing the small size of the footprints, “I think it is a disgusting, horrible thing that looks like it was done by children.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz announced that the NYPD has confirmed that this incident is being investigated as a possible bias incident and has been referred to the Hate Crimes Unit of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines.
The graffiti was quickly removed by Parks Department employees following the go ahead from investigators.
“The placement of anti-Semitic graffiti at the Holocaust Memorial Park shows us graphically that the lessons of history have not been learned by all,” said Councilman Lew Fidler. He went on to say, in a statement to the press, that “Choosing this location is particularly hateful and shows the callous ignorance of the perpetrator.”
A community rally was held this week in Brighton Beach to protest this brazen anti-Semitic act.