Antisemitic Vandalisms Pops Up Throughout Metro Detroit

(WXYZ) — A string of hate crimes across Oak Park and Royal Oak is causing concern and distress in the Jewish community.

7 Action News has learned that in Oak Park, swastikas have been drawn on a person's car and a family stroller.

In Royal Oak, a swastika and the letters AZOV were spray painted on the front of the Woodward Avenue Shul.

Tamar and Shaul Anthony were the victims of the stroller vandalism and say it's an unfortunate reality that their Jewish faith makes them the target of hate.

"In my hometown, I've had people yell things out the window," Tamar said.

But words turned to action this weekend when a Nazi symbol was sprayed on their child’s stroller.

"It's kind of scary that someone came up to our property and were like 'Hey Jews here. We don't like you.'"

A neighbor told Shaul that a swastika was drawn on his car this week. And in Royal Oak, the letters AZOV were sprayed on a synagogue.

"Immediately I put AZOV into Google. The top search item that came up was a pro-Nazi Ukrainian militia," Rabbi Mendel Polter said.

Mendel Polter, who is the Rabbi at Woodward Avenue Schul, also adds that AZOV means 'leave' in Hebrew.

"I have ancestors who went through the holocaust. I have relatives who were killed by the Nazis. The swastika represents everything that in the last century was the greatest antithesis of Judaism," Rabbi Polter said.

The recent spike in anti-Semitic attacks in metro Detroit is on trend with a nationwide uptick which saw a 36% increase in 2022.

"They're trying to instill fear. They're trying to channel our energies into fighting them and we have so much better to do," the rabbi said.