Winnipeg skyline
Winnipeg skyline iStock

A package with an anti-Semitic epithet and a reference to a Nazi death squad was left on the doorstep of a Jewish couple in Winnipeg, Canada, JTA reported on Thursday.

The incident occurred on New Year's Eve, B'nai Brith Canada said.

The couple returned home at about 10:00 p.m. that evening to find a red gift bag on their front steps containing a rock the size of a loaf of bread wrapped in a ribbon.

Painted on the rock in red letters was “DIE JEW B*TCH. EINSATZGRUPPEN”, according to JTA.

The Einsatzgruppen was a Nazi death squad responsible for the mass killings of Jews and other minorities during World War II.

A swastika was also painted on the rock. On the red ribbon were the words “Jude B*tch get out of neighberhood (sic).”

"This is very unusual for Winnipeg," Rob Carver, the public information officer for the city's police department, told B'nai Brith on Wednesday. "I can count on one hand in the 24 years I've been in this position the number of incidents that were as egregious and as threatening as this. We are very concerned about this and taking it very seriously."

Local police said they are treating the incident as a hate crime.

One of the homeowners called the incident "invasive," as well as "horrible" and "frightening," according to B'nai Brith Canada.

Winnipeg, a city of 720,000 in central Canada's Manitoba province, has a Jewish population estimated at 10,500 to 15,000.

Canada, despite priding itself on being a tolerant country, has not been immune from anti-Semitism.

A Canadian university professor recently used his Facebook page to promote anti-Semitism, even going so far as to support "open debate" on the Holocaust.

In October, swastika graffiti was painted in the University of Toronto. In August, pro-Israel supporters were attacked by leftists in Montreal.

In November, a spate of racist graffiti targeted religious communities across the Canadian capital Ottawa, including a local synagogue and a Jewish community center.