Swastikas marked on three Sherman Oaks homes this week are being categorized as hate crimes, authorities say, because the victims of the vandalism are Jewish.
Residents woke Wednesday to find Nazi iconography on the cars, walls, gates and mailboxes of their Leghorn Avenue community. A second-generation Holocaust survivor who lives in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood was visibly shaken by the event, NBC LA reported.
Resident Jennifer Niman, whose grandparents perished in the Holocaust, remarked to KTLA, that "this is not something you want to walk out and see in Sherman Oaks," continuing, "It's like Germany 1938."
Niman, who told the Jewish Journal that her neighbors were too upset to speak with the media, wondered about the houses that were defaced. "There are 12 Orthodox Jewish families on the block," she said. "Why pick these three?"
For Niman, it is apparantly not the first time her property was the target of anti-Semitic scrawling.
The woman claims that in 2001 she rented out her home for a one-day film shoot, and returned to find swastikas and other hateful writings inside the house where she's lived for 20 years with her husband.
She believes the perpetrator, who was never identified or apprehended, was reacting to pieces of Israeli artwork inside her home.
One of the markings reportedly read, "'this house is cursed by blood of Palestinians,'" and was found on a wall behind a towel in her children’s bathroom. Said Niman, "when you pulled the towel off the towel bar you saw the statements in big capital letters."
In an email to Sherman Oaks Patch, Niman gave an account of her family's history:
My mother is from Vienna and was rescued by the Kindertransport which took her and thousands of Austrian and German children ('Kinder") to England, whisked away from the horrors of Nazi Germany and Austria, most of them never to see their parents again.
My grandparents, devout Viennese Jews, were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. My grandfather, a Rabbi, had his beard cut by Nazi hoodlums in the street in Vienna, one of my mother's last memories of him.
For me to be going about my usual day and then find swastikas painted on 3 homes on my peaceful American block, is transporting me back to Nazi-occupied Austria and memories which are not mine, but feel like mine, because I have read about them, heard about them 1st hand from my Mom, and internalized them as my own.