Charleston Police investigating Holocaust Memorial vandalism as a hate crime

The Holocaust memorial in Marion Square in downtown Charleston.
The Holocaust memorial in Marion Square in downtown Charleston.(Google Maps)
Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 at 5:39 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - City of Charleston officials say police are investigating a vandalism at the Holocaust museum as a hate crime.

The investigation into the incident began on the night of July 24 when a police officer responded to Marion Square for a vandalism, and was told that a plaque at the Holocaust Memorial site had been vandalized.

According to a police report the following words were written on the plaque using a green marker:

  • “Wake UP Israel (Negroes) !!!”
  • “Ashkenazi Jews”
  • “FAKE JEWS” which the police report indicated was written twice on the plaque
  • “The so called ‘Negroes’ are the REAL JEWS of the Bible!!!”

An employee of the Charleston Jewish Foundation said on July 22 at 5 p.m. she was notified by a voice message stating that the memorial had been vandalized.

The Jewish Federation of Charleston said they reported the incident to the police department as well as the Anti-Defamation League, and the Secure Community Network.

City of Charleston officials said police are investigating the vandalism under the city’s hate crime statute.

On Friday morning, Charleston police officials had said that the incident was being investigated as a vandalism and was not being investigated as a hate crime. On Friday night, City of Charleston officials said authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

The Jewish Federation of Charleston released the following statement:

We are saddened to have to announce that this past week, our Holocaust Memorial in Marion Square was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti. Hate and anti-Semitism has no place in our city or our society, and when our memorials or our places of worship are targeted, it strikes fear into the hearts of all those who hold these spaces sacred. Following the reporting of this incident of vandalism to the Charleston Jewish Federation, our Community Security and Emergency Management Consultant immediately and thoroughly documented the incident and reported it to our partners at the Charleston Police Department, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Secure Community Network (SCN).

Our Holocaust memorial was erected in Marion Square to remember the 6 million Jews, along with 5 million others, killed in the Holocaust. For many of us Charlestonians, those Jews included our family members, friends, and ancestors. Now more than ever, we as Charlestonians and Americans must empathize with and respect each other’s historic and ongoing traumas. This week, our Jewish Community Relations Council is working together with Mother Emanuel AME Church, the Alliance for Full Acceptance, and others to launch our Stamp Out Hate campaign to pass much-needed hate crime legislation in South Carolina. Vandalism like the kind committed against our Holocaust Memorial is more than just vandalism, it’s a hate crime.

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