Boston Jewish groups are voicing outrage after a video began circulating on social media over the weekend showing young men leaning against and kicking the New England Holocaust Memorial.
“Boston – an onlooker films in horror as a group of young men kick the New England Holocaust Memorial,” StopAntisemitism said in a tweet in which they tagged the Boston Police.
“The group noticed the man filming and ran up to him, making antisemitic threats of violence,” they added.
According to the advocacy organization, the incident occurred on Friday night.
The memorial is located in downtown Boston on Union Street. It contains six glass towers inscribed with millions of numbers representing the numbers tattooed on the arms of concentration camp inmates.
“The New England Holocaust Memorial is a sacred site in Boston, a way we bear witness to the memories of those who suffered or died at the hands of the Nazis,” ADL New England’s Peggy Shukur told Boston.com.
She called the incident “of concern to the Boston Jewish community, and should concern the entire New England community.”
Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and the Jewish Community Relations Council released a joint statement on Twitter denouncing the behavior of the young men.
“[We] are aware of an active police investigation about a disturbance at the New England Holocaust Memorial around 9:30 p.m. Friday night. We will not stand for any acts of antisemitism in our community, especially not the desecration of memories of the victims of the Holocaust, and will continue to monitor the situation,” they said. “We ask any member of the community who witnessed the event or may have information from that night to please come forward and contact Boston Police.”
Boston City Council President Ed Flynn called the incident “alarming” in a statement posted to social media.
“This is a memorial built to commemorate Holocaust victims and honor survivors, and to inspire reflection on one of the most tragic events in modern history,” Flynn said. “Any act to damage or desecrate this memorial is unacceptable.”
Noting that Boston has recently experienced a “disturbing rise” in hate crimes, including antisemitism, Flynn urged Bostonians to “categorically reject and denounce any attempts to normalize antisemitism or any form of hate.”
“While we continue to stand with our Jewish neighbors now, and always, we must educate and remind our children about the horrors of the past so that history does not repeat itself,” Flynn said. “We must make clear to all neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups that they are not welcome and will never represent our values.”
Boston police told Boston.com that they found no visible damage to the memorial. They are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.