ADL Decries Vandalism at Chicago Jewish Cemetery
Update: An alleged member of a neo-Nazi group was arrested and charged in this incident on February 1, 2008. More
Chicago, IL, January 11, 2008 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the anti-Semitic vandalism of Westlawn Jewish cemetery, where 57 headstones were defaced with spray-painted swastikas and other symbols commonly associated with neo-Nazi hate groups.
"We decry this senseless and disturbing act of anti-Semitism, which affects the entire Jewish community," said Lonnie Nasatir, ADL Chicago Regional Director. "We applaud the Chicago Police for taking this incident seriously."
According to ADL, many of the spray-painted symbols are among those commonly associated with white supremacist groups, including the number "88," which represents the eighth letter of the alphabet and is shorthand for "Heil Hitler," the word "skinheads," SS lightning bolts, "white power," "Aryan Power," "Juden Raus" (Jew Out), the Othala Rune, the Wolfsangel, the Star of David hung in a gallows, and others.
The desecration is believed to have occurred overnight on January 5-6.
The League is in contact and will be working closely with law enforcement and the community as the investigation proceeds. ADL's experts on neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups are providing information and assistance to investigators working to solve the case.
Information on identifying and decoding hate symbols is available on the League's Hate Symbols Database.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.