(May 4, 2021 / JNS) The Oregon Holocaust Memorial in Portland was found spray-painted with anti-Semitic hate symbols on Sunday.
Written in white were two swastikas and “1488,” a number popular among neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. The symbols have been removed, and the Portland Police Bureau said on Monday that it is investigating the vandalism, which also included anti-Semitic tagging on street signs and concrete barriers near the park.
“To use Nazi symbols to deface a memorial dedicated to the millions who were murdered during the Holocaust recapitulates the hatred that drove the original genocide,” Judy Margles, director of the Oregon Jewish Museum, told KOIN 6 News. “It is an act of symbolic violence against the very idea that inspired the memorial.”
Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler said “the damage to the Oregon Holocaust Memorial is heartbreaking, and it’s particularly painful that it happened during Jewish American Heritage Month. I denounce hate crimes, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.”
The Oregon Holocaust Memorial, dedicated in 2004, features a stone wall of panels that provide a brief history of the Holocaust and quotes from survivors. At the end of the wall is a soil vault panel; buried below is interred soil and ash from six Holocaust concentration camps: Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The back of the wall is engraved with the names of concentration-camp victims, along with the names of their surviving relatives in Oregon and southwest Washington.
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