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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Family's home vandalized with swastikas

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TORONTO — A family in a heavily Jewish neighbourhood near the Baycrest Centre was shocked to find last week that their home had been vandalized with swastikas as well as a threat against their children.

The family, who requested that their names not be used, woke up one morning last week to find someone had spray painted a swastika on a side door to their garage along with the epithet, “F… Jews.”

Later that day, they discovered that the vandal had also entered their unlocked garage, which is attached to the house, and spray painted a swastika, as well as “Watch your children,” on a stack of spare doors. Another swastika was daubed on the tray of an unused children’s high chair.

The man said the family is visibly Jewish, with a mezuzah on the door and children wearing yarmulkes playing outside, and he himself has a long beard.

“I’m sure it’s quite worrisome,” said the father of the family that experienced the antisemitic incidents. “When you start making threats, it ups the worry.”

Police were called after the graffiti were discovered on the outside garage door. “This is being taken very seriously,” said Toronto Police Service’s spokesperson Mark Pugash. “It’s under investigation.”

The woman said she later received a phone call from someone who lives nearby who had her side garage door vandalized with a swastika about a month ago. “It was pretty much the same on her door as mine – the swastika and curse words,” she said.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) stated in a news release that it is “sickened and appalled to learn of a vicious antisemitic incident targeting a Jewish family in Toronto.

“That an individual or group of individuals feel bold enough to invade someone’s home and attack them because they are Jewish is a very dangerous turn of events in this city, and I certainly hope our politicians are paying very close attention,” said FSWC president and CEO Avi Benlolo.

The Wiesenthal Center is installing a home security system along with video surveillance and paying for it for a year, the woman said.

Family friend Toby Trompeter said, “I feel for my friends so deeply as a fellow daughter of Holocaust survivors, but no one should have to go through this type of torment. I invite members of the public to write messages of support for the family on the Zero Tolerance for Anti-Semitism page on Facebook and they will be passed along.”

The home vandalism was not the first time the man was the target of an incident. Two weeks ago, he found that someone had drawn a swastika on the windshield of his car – from the inside.

At the time, he cleaned it off and put the incident behind him.

“My thinking was that it was some punks breaking into the car and noted that it was a Jewish house, and they decided to put a swastika in the car. I didn’t think much of it.”

When the second incident took place last week, he realized that “it’s something getting serious and needs to be addressed. It’s a hate crime.”

That’s when he contacted police.

As for the family, “we’re people of faith in God,” he said, “but it’s worrisome.”

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