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January 08, 1993 - Image 120

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-01-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

News

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Seven Synagogues
Are Defaced

Montreal (JTA) — Jewish
leaders have condemned the
defacement of seven syn-
agogues this past weekend
in what some have called the
worst rash of anti-Semitic
attacks ever seen in this
city.
Unidentified vandals
painted red swastikas on all
the synagogues and scrawl-
ed "Juden raus" (Jews out)
— the notorious slogan used
by the Gestapo in World War
II
on one of them. All
seven incidents, which were
spread throughout the city,
occurred within a span of 24
hours.
The defacements were the
first in Quebec since a Jew-
ish cemetery in the city of
Sherbrooke was vandalized
in 1991.
"This is the worst act of
racism in terms of
magnitude and scope ever,"
said Jonathan Schneider-
man, spokesman for B'nai
Brith's League for Human
Rights here.
B'nai Brith has been con-
cerned with a rise in anti-
Semitic incidents in Mon-
treal over the last two years,
ranging from hate mail to
assaults, although Quebec
has experienced fewer such
incidents than several other
Canadian provinces.
In Toronto, anti-Semitic
slogans were painted onto
three synagogues this past
summer and a Jewish
cemetery was defaced with
red swastikas.
Mr. Schneiderman and
others pointed to a possible
connection between the van-
dalism here and the rise of
neo-Nazi violence in Europe.
The weekend's events
"confirm the dire warnings"
about the increase of hate
crimes in Canada, said
Rabbi Sidney Shohan of
B'nai Brith in a statement.
"We should not shake our
heads at what is happening
in Germany and think it
cannot happen here," said
Rabbi Shohan.
"We assume that this has
something to do with neo-
Nazis," said Michael Grelin-
sten, executive-director of
Canadian Jewish Congress'
Quebec region. "It's a par-
ticularly poignant event in a
city like Montreal, with its
large Holocaust survivor com-
munity."
Mr. Crelinsten voiced pes-
simism that authorities
would be able to catch the
perpetrators.



CJC has, however, offered
a $5,000 reward for informa-
tion leading to the ap-
prehension of those respon-
sible. The Sun Youth Organ-
ization also announced that
an anonymous businessman
had matched the CJC offer.
Mr. Crelinsten said that
all, not only "minority com-
munities," should be con-
cerned about racism. People
"have to decide what is
tolerable and what kind of
society it is in which they
wish to live," he said.
He deemed the deeds "an
expression of the economic
crisis in which we find
ourselves enmeshed" and "a
beachhead for the kinds of
things we see happening in
Europe.
"Strong leadership is re-
quired to ensure this (situa-
tion) does not deteriorate."
Both Congress and B'nai
Brith Canada have called

Unidentified
vandals painted
red swastikas on
synagogues.

upon Quebec's public securi-
ty minister Claude Ryan to
respond to the act.
The executive director of
the Beth Ora synagogue in
the St. Laurent section, Zev
Mestel, was reported to be
unhappy with the response
he received from police when
he reported the vandalism.
He said that the Montreal
Urban Community officer
took the report over the
phone, saying he could not
spare a cruiser.
"The police shouldn't have
treated it as idle graffiti,"
Mr. Mestel said. "We're used
to swastikas, but when they
start using terminology used
in Nazi Germany, it's a diff-
erent ball game, especially
with what's going on in
Germany now with
skinheads."
At Congregation Beth
Israel Beth Aaron, one of the
two synagogues in the
predominantly Jewish
suburb of Cote St. Luc that
were vandalized, the graffiti
was apparently sprayed onto
the building while con-
gregants were inside.
"There are those who are
tempted to dismiss these
acts as being perpetrated by
social outcasts," said Rabbi
Reuben Poupko.

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