A Holocaust Education Week banner was vandalized with antisemitic political slogans on November 4.
The exhibit at which the vandalization occurred was hosted by Hillel Waterloo/Laurier.
“Hillel Waterloo’s banner was covered up with political messaging that not only took away from the exhibit but targeted Jews in its messaging because the Hillel banner represented the work our club put into creating a powerful exhibit that explained how European Jews came under such oppression and victimization,” Cora Miller, program director at Hillel Waterloo said.
Hillel took immediate action and removed the vandalized banner immediately, making sure to record the incident and alert UW support services.
“This was done quietly to remain focused on sharing the messages of the Holocaust as planned,” Miller said.
When asked if they took photos of the vandalized exhibit, Hillel stated that they took one photo solely for record-keeping purposes.
After this event of vandalization, Hillel advises students to always report actions of vandalization to administrators, and the owner of the property vandalized.
“We were lucky enough to have a student let us know when he saw the vandalization. We are grateful to those students who may come from other backgrounds and not necessarily agree with our political views, yet still stand by us when political protest is taken too far,” Miller said.
Hillel Waterloo is an organization that provides Jewish students at both UW and Laurier opportunities to learn, explore and celebrate Jewish culture and heritage.
They offer student-led programs to engage members of the Jewish community and the UW community at large.
One of these programs is Holocaust Education Week, hosted from Nov. 4-8 this year for UW and Laurier.
“Holocaust Education Week is meant to bring awareness to and help students, staff, and faculty learn more about the Holocaust,” Miller said. “By creating a space for the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University students to engage with [the history of the Holocaust], Hillels Waterloo and Laurier stand by the phrase ‘Never Again.’”
The various exhibits running for Holocaust week explored the history of the Holocaust through art and media, included a Holocaust survivor’s speech on his experience and adverse effects of hate and an Interfaith Shabbat dinner that various faith groups on campus were a part of.
Unfortunately, Hillel UW saw one of their exhibits vandalized during their peaceful and unifying effort, Holocaust Education Week.