Australia: Melbourne kindergarten defaced with '4th Reich'

Anti-Defamation Commission condemns vandalism in kindergarten in Melbourne’s Albert Park.

Elad Benari ,

Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

A kindergarten in Melbourne’s Albert Park has been defaced with the words “4th Reich” along with a Star of David, The Australian Jewish News reported on Sunday.

The incident at the Middle Park Kindergarten was reported to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) on Saturday by a non-Jewish man who was walking in the area, according to the report.

ADC chairman Dvir Abramovich said to defile a place where children play and learn with neo-Nazi vandalism is “beyond words and beyond contempt”.

“This senseless defacement is a vile attack on the core values and spirit of the kindergarten, a place where students, family and staff of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcomed,” Abramovich told The AJN on Sunday.

Describing the graffiti as “despicable”, Abramovich added, “Let’s remember that 1.5 million children were murdered in the Holocaust by the Nazis, and this graffiti is a death threat which should be taken seriously.”

“I hope that those cowards who committed this sickening outrage are identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added. “Melbourne is a city of strength and pluralism, and united we will fight back against this filth which is invading our neighborhood.”

Approached by The AJN for comment, a spokesperson for Victoria Police said they were unaware of “any report of this nature at this time”.

The incident comes less than a fortnight after a swastika was scrawled over a Star of David on an ATM in the Melbourne suburb of Balaclava, according to The AJN.

In 2019, there was a 30 percent increase in serious anti-Semitic incidents in Australia involving verbal abuse, harassment, and intimidation.

That year, a Jewish-owned café in Melbourne was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, including a swastika and the words “The Holocaust is a lie”.

In January of 2019, a man attacked a rabbi in Melbourne and threatened that he would do "what Hitler did," only because he picked up a cell phone when the two were at a red light.

Later that month, an aged care facility that is home to Holocaust survivors and located in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield was defaced with swastikas by a neo-Nazi organization.

In February, sites in Bondi Beach, located east of Sydney, were defaced with more than 20 swastikas.