Police investigate swastika vandalism at Hebrew Union College

Police investigate swastika vandalism at Hebrew Union College
By Tuesday afternoon, the symbol had been removed from the sign. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Mike Woeste)
By Tuesday afternoon, the symbol had been removed from the sign. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Mike Woeste)

CLIFTON, OH (FOX19) - Police are investigating at Hebrew Union College after a swastika symbol was found painted on campus Tuesday morning.

The symbol was found painted on the sign on Clifton Avenue near Martin Luther King Drive, the college confirmed.

By Tuesday afternoon, the symbol had been removed from the sign.

Described by Jewish Community Relations Council Exec Director Sarah Weiss as a symbol of hate, the act of vandalism is making an impact. For some, Weiss said it's a haunting reminder of the millions who lost their lives during the Holocaust.

"It's painful, that symbol carries a history that involves bloodshed and involves pain and involves suffering," she said.

According to the Hebrew Union College's website, it's the largest Jewish seminary in North America. The Cincinnati campus was established in 1875. The college also has campuses in New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.

"To see that on a Jewish institution, a Jewish school in this case, or anywhere for that matter, brings back all of those really hateful memories and difficult times," Associate Dean, Rabbi Kenneth Kanter said.

Investigators do believe this was a random act, and an isolated incident.

Cincinnati police are looking through security footage to see if the vandal was caught on camera, and local leaders of all faiths are encouraging unity.

"Our community is proud of that history and proud of having Hebrew Union College and appalled that such an act would take place there," Weiss said.

"For Cincinnati, this is fairly unusual, and so our community in the Jewish faith, our Jewish community, the general community, the general religious community have all kind of gathered together to share their support and their strength and their concern for us," Kanter said.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"This act of hate perpetrated against our brothers and sisters at Hebrew Union College is an attack on our entire community.  I am deeply offended and disturbed by these actions. The City is committed to using all of our resources to bring these criminals to justice. As we work to build a more welcoming and inclusive City, we will not stand for this intimidation."

If you have any information, contact police.

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