WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Holocaust memorial was vandalized with hateful messages on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said anti-Semitic stickers and posters were discovered Tuesday at the Garden of Remembrance in White Plains.
“Very clear, very graphic and very insulting. It was meant to shock, it wasn’t something subtle,” Latimer told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon. “For this to be the site of an act of hatred is particularly heinous, and for it to happen on the day which is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar is really a statement being made by the person who did this.”
On the eve of Yom Kippur, the highest of holy days in the Jewish faith, anti-Semitic materials were discovered today at the Garden of Remembrance in downtown White Plains. We are enraged by this act and heartbroken that individuals would target members of our community
— Westchester Gov (@westchestergov) October 8, 2019
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also condemned the act of hate in a statement of his own:
“I am disgusted by the desecration of a Holocaust memorial in White Plains on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
“More than 74 years ago the entire world reeled in shock, horror and sorrow over the senseless murder of more than six million Jews — mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends and neighbors. Vandalizing a memorial lovingly built in their honor is a revolting and cowardly act, and I have directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to offer assistance to local authorities investigating this heinous act to ensure those responsible are held accountable.
“On this day of atonement, I join with New York’s Jewish community in remembrance of the lives lost and I pray for love, peace and understanding. Hate has no place in this state.”
The memorial was built in 1990 by the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center and can be found outside the Michaelian Office Building on Martine Avenue.
“Antisemitism is rising in Westchester County, New York State, the county and in the world, and I am very upset to be here today about this,” said Executive Director Millie Jasper.
Those who live and work nearby agreed it’s upsetting. They said the hatred needs to be stopped, and the best way to do that is with awareness and education.
“It’s terrible, of course. I think intolerance is up, generally, all around,” one man said.
Latimer said police are stepping up patrols and reviewing surveillance cameras in the area. Officials also said an interfaith prayer vigil will be held at noon Thursday.