Racist and pro-Nazi posters were discovered over the weekend at the University of British Columbia (UBC), local radio station CKNW reported.
The posters were discovered at the school’s War Memorial Gym on Saturday. The gym is the site of UBC’s annual Remembrance Day events, and students and staff were scheduled to gather there for ceremonies.
One poster is captioned, “Lest we forget the true heroes of WW2” over an image of Nazi soldiers, while another is emblazoned with a large swastika. Both direct people to racist websites.
Two days prior, Nazi images were found drawn on a blackboard in one of the university’s classrooms.
“The posters that were discovered at War Memorial Gym on November 11 are disturbing and of serious concern, particularly on a day when we collectively honor and remember all those who served in times of war, military conflict and peace,” said Philip Steenkamp, UBC’s vice president of external relations in a statement quoted by CKNW.
Steenkamp said the school took the posters down as soon as it was alerted, and that UBC takes “incidents of hate and racism very seriously.”
B’nai Brith Canada condemned the incident.
“Once again, we see anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism raising their ugly heads at a B.C. university,” said B’nai Brith Canada chief executive officer Michael Mostyn in a statement.
“These disturbing incidents constitute a threat to Jewish students and other minorities on campus, as well as an unforgivable insult to Canadian veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Nazi tyranny,” he added.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) condemned the incident as well, noting it coincided with the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a two-day anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany in which thousands of synagogues, Jewish businesses and other institutions were destroyed.
“University campuses should be a safe space for students to learn, but they have increasingly become a space for individuals and groups to express their antisemitic and racist views,” said FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo, as quoted by the Vancouver Sun.
As we commemorate Kristallnacht and the Jewish civilians who were directly affected by this horrific moment in history, this graffiti is a painful reminder that anti-Semitism still exists in our communities and that we must continue to stand up against it,” he added.
In recent months, there have been several incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti in Canada. In September, anti-Semitic graffiti was found spray painted at a school in Aurora, located north of Toronto.
That month, the phrase “Hitler was right!” was found spray painted on a highway in the city of Vaughan, a suburb of Toronto.
That incident occurred several days after anti-Semitic and racist graffiti was found on the walls, windows and playground equipment at three schools in the town of Markham, another suburb of Toronto.
Earlier this year, two swastikas were found drawn in chalk in a York University classroom. Police in York Region in Ontario later said they would increase patrols and presence at synagogues, Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions across the region.