St. Petersburg, Florida police have launched a hate crime investigation after someone spray painted “The Jews are guilty” with swastikas on a wall of the Florida Holocaust Museum building.
A statement from police said that officers patrolling the area noticed the anti-Semitic vandalism on an outside wall of the museum at 4 a.m. on Thursday.
The graffiti has since been painted over by city sanitation workers.
“This act of hatred demonstrates that the work of the Florida Holocaust Museum is more important than ever,” said Elizabeth Gelman, Executive Director of The Florida Holocaust Museum. “We remain committed to our vital mission to prevent future genocides and educate people about the dangers of antisemitism and other forms of racism and hatred. Clearly, our society still has a long way to go. The Museum deeply appreciates the responsiveness and professionalism of the St. Petersburg Police Department and its dedicated officers.”
Michael Igel, Chairman of the Board, added: “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, this attack on the Museum is not just repugnant. It is personal. The lessons of the Holocaust have not yet been learned, but the Museum and the broader community who supports our vital work will never be intimidated by cowardly vandals, nor will we be deterred from our mission.”
Florida Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) called the graffiti an “act of antisemitic hate and bigotry.”
Anti-Semitic graffiti “on the walls of Florida’s tribute to the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust is disgusting and reprehensible. These symbols of hate have no place in our Sunshine City, home to so many Holocaust survivors and their descendants. The perpetrators who committed this crime must be apprehended swiftly and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
He added, “This is a painful reminder that we must always stay vigilant against the forces of antisemitism and bigotry, so we may keep our solemn promise: Never Again."