Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia iStock

A swastika was discovered in a park in the City of Glen Eira, a Melbourne suburb which has the largest Jewish population in the country.

The Nazi symbol was found by a Jewish woman etched onto a large rock at Harleston Park, a popular children’s park, News.com.au reported.

The woman reported the hate symbol to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), the Australian equivalent of the Anti-Defamation League.

The chair of the ADC, Dvir Abramovich, called the graffiti a “cowardly” act that targeted the young children who play in the park.

“The swastika epidemic in Melbourne continues to surge, with a dramatic uptick of white-supremacist graffiti as extremists are spreading their cancer of hate,” Abramovich told the news outlet.

“Imagine how upset a Holocaust survivor, taking their grandchild to this park, would be when confronted with this symbol of genocide, which they probably thought they would never see in their own lifetime. This ugly graffiti demonstrates that these hardcore bigots are determined to sow the seeds of fear and intimidation in our city which is a shining beacon of diversity and acceptance.”

He added: “There is no place in our community for such stomach-churning intolerance, and we hope that the police investigate this incident and brings those responsible to justice.”

In September, the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, announced that it would become the first state in Australia to outlaw any public display of Nazi symbols. The ban does not go into effect until 2022.

At the beginning of December, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry released figures showing that anti-Semitic incidents in Australia have soared over the past year, with 447 reported cases amounting to a 35 percent increase over the same period in 2020.

Julie Nathan, research director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, told the organization’s annual conference that the number of incidents was an increase of 167 versus national average of 280 recorded between 2013 and 2020.