This past weekend throughout our local community social media was filled with images and reactions to the spray-painted depiction of Hitler and a swastika found on a tree located near the Warren/Green Brook border. Just in case there are those who would dismiss this action as the result of a “teenage prank” or a “misguided” graffiti artist, allow me to emphasize the seriousness of this hate filled act.
While the swastika was an ancient symbol used for decorative purposes by many cultures, its symbolism in the 20th century was forever tied to the Nazi Party headed by Adolf Hitler. Under his government, it was converted into a symbol of infamy equated with anti-Semitism, hate and death. To this very day it is the most notorious symbol for white-supremacy and the promulgation of animosity and loathing toward “the other”. For the Jewish community in particular, the swastika evokes fear, terror, anxiety and horror. The reason being that 6 million of our people were murdered under this banner of hate during the Holocaust and continue to be tormented by those who spew language of extreme loathing and threats of further death and destruction towards the Jewish people and Israel.
Thus, it is imperative that in the face of such acts of overt hatred, we as a community have the courage to speak out about bigotry in any form; promptly report such acts to the police and proper authorities; and stand up to those who threaten our humanity of mutual respect, care and concern for each other.
We are most grateful to all those who have voiced their concern and support to our Jewish community in solidarity and understanding.