SYDNEY, Australia (Nov. 7)
Police believe a spate of anti-Semitic acts around Melbourne, including vandalism, threatening telephone calls and verbal harassment, is the work of a previously unknown but well-organized racist group.
The attacks have been centered in the Melbourne suburbs of Caulfield, Balaclava and St. Kilda, home to more than 20 percent of Australia’s 100,000 Jews.
More than 500 religious books were ruined when vandals threw paint on the shelves of a new Jewish library. Anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas were painted on the walls and playground of a school in South Caulfield.
Holocaust survivors have been greeted with graffiti, such as “Juden Raus” (Jews Out), and letters “ordering” Jews to assemble at Auschwitz Rabbi Ronald Lubofsky, president of the Council of Christians and Jews, said on national television.
Eggs, rotten food and beer bottles have been thrown from cars at families leaving synagogue services.
At the Caulfield cemetery, 20 graves were desecrated with swastikas recently and bricks thrown through the window of a Caulfield synagogue.
In another incident, a group of youths was chased along the street by a gang yelling racial slurs and threatening to kill them, according to Senior Detective John Marron of the Elstenwick Criminal Investigation Bureau in Melbourne.
“There is a group of Nazi sympathizers who are obviously out to terrorize.” Marron said, adding that the youths were lucky to have found refuge.
The events in the Melbourne area are especially disturbing because other groups responsible for the majority of racist attacks in Australia over the past decade have been broken up by police action and anti-racist legislation within the past year. Melbourne had not experienced such anti-Semitic attacks for several months.