Update February 3, 2024: $25,000 reward offered for information leading to the identification of the perpetrator; more here.
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The Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza in Philadelphia on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was vandalized with a swastika, a spokesperson for the memorial said on Sunday.
“A disgusting incident of antisemitism that comes just after the Anti-Defamation League recorded a dramatic increase in antisemitism (both nationally and in Philly) from October to December of last year,” the spokesperson said in a release.
Built in 1964, the Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza at 16th and Arch Streets along the Parkway is the only major public monument in Philly dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust.
The bronze sculpture at the memorial was presented to the city of Philadelphia by Holocaust survivors and community leaders, and became the first public monument in North America to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust.
In the two months since the deadly attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, reports of antisemitic incidents have soared across the United States, according to data by the Anti-Defamation League.
The group called the rise “unprecedented,” and reported incidents of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate have also spiked in the U.S. over the same period, according to data from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In December in Philadelphia’s Somerton section, two swastikas were spray-painted on a wall near a senior apartment complex home to several Jewish people.
Since the Israel-Hamas war, the University of Pennsylvania has also been under national scrutiny for its handling of antisemitism incidents on campus.