The childhood home of Holocaust survivor, renowned author and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, Elie Wiesel, has been spray painted with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Offensive slogans were written on the external walls on the Memorial House Elie Wiesel in Sighet, in eastern Romania – where he was born – in what police are saying was an anti-Semitic incident. Florescent pink graffiti read “public toilet” and “Nazi Jew lying in hell with Hitler” as well as “Anti-Semite pedophile.”
Wiesel was one of the world’s most famous Holocaust survivors before he passed away in 2016 at the age of 87. A Nobel prize laureate for literature, he was honoured last year by locals in his hometown. They marched from the museum, which was built where Wiesel was born and grew up, to the train station where in 1944 he boarded with his family a train to the Auschwitz death camp in German-occupied Poland.
Police are investigating the incident, which they consider an anti-Semitic hate crime, but have no suspects in custody, the news site Sighet247 reported Saturday.
“What was done is unforgivable,” said Chaim Chesler, co-founder of Limmud FSU. Chesler’s group, which sets up cultural events for Jews across the former Soviet Union and other places where many Russian-speaking Jews live, was responsible for the 2016 memorial march for Wiesel in Sighet. “Elie is a symbol for all Holocaust survivors and that makes this incident especially painful. Everything must be done so that such cases not repeat themselves.”
The WJC strongly condemns the despicable anti-Semitic vandalism of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel’s home in Romania. We stand with our community in welcoming the quick start of the investigation and hope that justice will swiftly be served. pic.twitter.com/678tqJskBv
— WJC (@WorldJewishCong) August 4, 2018
The house, which is now a museum and a Holocaust center, was established following Limmud FSU’s initiative in 2014, and dedicated in order to commemorate the Nobel prizewinner. Strongly condemning the incident, Chaim Chesler, Founder of Limmud FSU said: “This unspeakable act of vandalism cannot be forgiven. Elie Wiesel was the ultimate emblem of Holocaust remembrance and the struggle for peace and harmony between peoples. What makes this act even more despicable is the dreadful graffiti, such as Wiesel is “in hell with Hitler,” that were daubed on the walls of the museum. Such abominations cannot be allowed to reoccur.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Elie Wiesel, who survived unimaginable horrors during the Holocaust, dedicated his life to ensuring the world understood the truth of the past and the darkest depths of the Holocaust.
“This appalling antisemitic attack is abhorrent and grotesque. It reminds us that we are witnessing a dangerous normalisation of antisemitism across Europe and we must all remain vigilant and speak out wherever we see it.
“At the Holocaust Educational Trust, we work every day to continue Elie’s legacy of educating about the Holocaust and its relevance today, so that it is never forgotten. This horrendous attack reminds us how important our mission still remains.”