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Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg vandalized with painted swastika

The St. Petersburg Police Department was investigating the vandalism Thursday morning.
A police vehicle seen Thursday morning at the Florida Holocaust Museum. The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating swastikas painted overnight on a wall of the museum.
A police vehicle seen Thursday morning at the Florida Holocaust Museum. The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating swastikas painted overnight on a wall of the museum. [ KIRK SIMPKINS | Times ]
Published May 27, 2021|Updated May 27, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating antisemitic vandalism discovered Thursday morning on a wall of the Florida Holocaust Museum.

Investigators are searching for a vandal or group of vandals responsible for spray-painting a swastika and “Jews are guilty” on a wall of the museum at 55 Fifth St. S, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Patrol officers spotted the graffiti about 4 a.m. Thursday. It was painted in black and ran along the First Avenue S side of the museum.

Detectives are investigating the incident as a hate crime. By about 9:15 a.m., city sanitation workers had painted over the vandalism.

The museum’s executive director issued a statement Thursday saying the vandalism “demonstrates that the work of the Florida Holocaust Museum is more important than ever.”

“We remain committed to our vital mission to prevent future genocides and educate people about the dangers of antisemitism and other forms of racism and hatred,” Executive Director Elizabeth Gelman said. “Clearly, our society still has a long way to go.”

“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, this attack on the Museum is not just repugnant. It is personal,” added Board of Directors Chairman Michael Igel. “The lessons of the Holocaust have not yet been learned, but the Museum and the broader community who supports our vital work will never be intimidated by cowardly vandals, nor will we be deterred from our mission.”

Related: A loud call from Tampa to end the latest clash between Israel and Palestinians

Police ask that anyone with information call the police department at 727-893-7780 or text SPPD plus your tip to TIP411.

A portion of the wall of the Florida Holocaust Museum that was painted over Thursday to cover up anti-Semitic vandalism.
A portion of the wall of the Florida Holocaust Museum that was painted over Thursday to cover up anti-Semitic vandalism. [ KIRK SIMPKINS | Times staff ]
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