GLEN COVE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — For the second time in two weeks, the Holocaust Center on Long Island has been vandalized and this time, it included swastikas.
At the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, which teaches the horrors of what can happen when hate is left unchecked, a sickening discovery was found outside this week — two spray-painted swastikas.
It wasn’t the first vandalism incident in recent weeks. In late November, a racial slur was scrawled and signs were defaced at the memorial to the million and a half children murdered in the Holocaust.
“We don’t think they understood where they were or what they were doing,” said center chairman Steven Markowitz. “We attributed that to just vandalism, kids being stupid. This time … swastikas at a Holocaust center is extremely disturbing.”
In the November incident, four teens carrying flashlights were caught on camera running from the property.
Glen Cove police suspect different perpetrators may be responsible for the swastikas found this week.
They say graffiti is out of control on the property, which is also a county preserve, but this rises to the felony level — a hate crime.
“It’s a Holocaust Museum and they’re teaching tolerance, and you have the vandals that are doing just the opposite. Racial slurs, anti-Semitic, swastikas, and it’s just, you know, horrible that they’re– they need to be educated. Maybe they don’t realize what the swastika means and maybe education is the way to go,” Glen Cove Police Det. Lt. John Nagle told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
That’s why Sen. Todd Kaminsky is introducing a bill to require schools to specifically teach about the symbol of suffering.
“It’s not just that you are vandalizing something, but you are sending a mention of terror to an entire community,” he said.
Kaminsky’s bill would also mandate the teaching of another notorious symbol of hate — the noose.
At the center, children as young as 11 are learning why it’s not just graffiti.
“I feel like it’s really hurtful for the Jewish people,” one child said.
“The Holocaust started with name-calling, bullying, graffiti, all the things we see today,” Markowitz said.
These are the first hate crimes at the Holocaust center since it opened three decades ago.