ADL Welcomes Arrest of Alleged Neo-Nazi in Chicago Cemetery Vandalism
Chicago, IL, February 2, 2008 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the arrest of an alleged neo-Nazi in connection with the desecration of nearly 60 graves at a Chicago Jewish Cemetery.
Mariusz Wdziekonski, 21, of Norridge, was in Sheriff's Police custody facing charges ranging from criminal damage to property to a felony hate crime for the defacement of tombstones at Westlawn Cemetery in unincorporated Norwood Park Township.
ADL welcomed the arrest and praised the Cook County Sheriff's Department for taking the investigation seriously.
"The Sheriff's Department deserves high praise for its handling of this deplorable anti-Semitic incident which is a hate crime against the entire community," said Lonnie Nasatir, ADL Chicago Regional Director. "The Sheriff's Office took the graffiti seriously from the moment it was discovered and we are grateful to Sheriff Tom Dart for his leadership in investigating this incident effectively and professionally.
"We are also confident the Cook County State's Attorney's Office will prosecute this offender to the fullest extent of the law," Mr. Nasatir added.
On Jan. 6, cemetery officials found numerous anti-Semitic epithets and neo-Nazi hate symbols spray-painted on 57 headstones in the western portion of the cemetery.
Police say Wdziekonski has acknowledged to being a member of the neo-Nazi organization known as "NSM 88." NSM stands for the "National Socialist Movement", which is, according to ADL, the largest and most active neo-Nazi group in the country. "88" refers to the eighth letter of the alphabet, "H." The double H is shorthand for "Heil Hitler."
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.