The United Jewish Appeal Federation of Toronto (UJA) said in a tweet Sunday that a sign advertising holocaust education was spray painted with the word ‘Achtung’ outside of the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in North York.
‘Achtung’, a German word, translates to ‘attention,’ and was often used in Jewish concentration camps — sometimes as a wake-up call — during the Nazi era.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, the UJA posted a photo of the vandalized sign on their front lawn and said they are “deeply disturbed.”
“Over the weekend one of our lawn signs, featuring a Holocaust survivor, was vandalized with anti-Semitic hatred,” they tweeted.
“We will not tolerate hatred and anti-semitism of any kind. There is no place for hate here in Toronto.”
UJA spokesperson, Naomi Parness, told Global News the sign has since been taken down. In a press release sent out Sunday afternoon, the vice-president of UJA responded to the vandalism.
“It is appalling that in a city as diverse and welcoming as Toronto, the Jewish community continues to experience the highest number of hate-motivated crimes, year after year,” said Noah Shack, Vice President, CIJA Toronto.
“Incidents like this seek to strike fear in the hearts of Jewish Canadians, but our community is resilient. We urge anyone who has witnessed a hate crime or suspicious incident to immediately contact Toronto Police, and then report the incident to CIJA so that we can work with our law enforcement partners to help ensure the incident is addressed as effectively as possible.”
Mayor John Tory released a statement condemning the vandalism, saying it is unacceptable.
“This type of hatred has no place in Toronto,” said Tory.
“I stand with our city’s Jewish community in condemning this cowardly act. We know that across the GTA and Canada, the Jewish community is the most frequently targeted minority. That’s why it is so important for all of us to condemn this hatred when we see it in our communities.”
WATCH: Toronto Mayor John Tory condemns vandalism on a Holocaust sign in North York
A Toronto police spokesperson said they are investigating the incident as suspicious as well as vandalism. They said based on the definition of the word ‘Achtung’, it doesn’t fall under the criteria of a hate crime.
Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 416-808-3200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.