Hate crime in Brooklyn

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 2:26pm

Residents of a Brooklyn, New York neighborhood where several cars were burned and others were painted with swastikas and the letters "KKK" say they're stunned.

Police are looking into the anti-Semitic graffiti and arson, which was discovered along Ocean Parkway near Avenue I in Midwood, a predominantly Jewish area.

"It's unbelievable someone could get away with this in the middle of Ocean Parkway," said Baruch Levy, who lives nearby.

Ellen Shalom is a friend of one family that lives directly in front of where the crimes occurred.

"It's just horrible," she said.

A number of benches were also covered with swastikas and other hate graffiti, officials said.

Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement that the hate crimes task force "is actively investigating the twisted person or people" involved."

"This kind of hateful act has no place in the freest city in the freest country in the world," he added.

Thursday was the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazis' 1938 anti-Jewish attack that left 91 Jews dead, damaged more than 1,000 synagogues and destroyed thousands of Jewish businesses.

The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $4,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

"The Nazi imagery and the burning of cars in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood is a chilling echo of a troubling past," said Ron Meier, ADL New York regional director.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the crimes represent "a truly hateful act of prejudice."

"That it took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht leaves no doubt that this attack is a hate crime in every sense," he added.

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