(November 29, 2018 / JNS) A Jewish professor at Columbia University in New York was the target of anti-Semitic vandalism on Wednesday, walking into her office to discover two red swastikas and the slur “Yid” spray painted on the walls.
Elizabeth Midlarsky, 77, has taught and researched the Holocaust at the Columbia Teachers College for nearly three decades.
She told CNN that she “almost passed out” when she discovered the graffiti and “was so shaky, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.” Her shock and fear were so great that fellow staff members had to escort her home.
The New York Police Department opened an investigation into the attack, and president of the Teachers College, Thomas Bailey, issued a statement saying “we are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.”
Midlarsky was similarly targeted in 2007, when she began publishing Holocaust research and took part in protests against an invitation to give a speech by Columbia to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, following his calls for Israel’s total destruction.
She reported that her office door was painted with a swastika that year, and that she received hate mail.
However, Midlarksy said she has not proffered any controversial public opinions of late, and was taken aback by the recent attack.
“I feel very, very vulnerable,” she said.