‘Something Alarming Is Happening in Victoria’: Backyard Swastika Display Marks Latest Antisemitic Incident in Australian State

A wooden swastika is seen in the backyard of a home in the Caulfield suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

March 2, 2022

The son of a Holocaust survivor was shocked on Monday to spot a large wooden swastika behind a residential structure in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield, which is home to a large Jewish population, The Australian reported.

The swastika was set up in the backyard of a rooming house that had been vacated.

It was removed after it was reported to authorities, according to the Glen Eira City Council.

“No Jewish person should be confronted with the emblem of evil in their own neighborhood,” Dr. Dvir Abramovich — chairman of Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) — said. “This malicious act, dripping with venomous and dangerous hate, is a punch in the gut of every Holocaust survivor and a spit on the memory of the victims.”

“Something alarming is happening in Victoria,” he added, referring to the Australian state where Caulfield is located, “and it’s time to acknowledge that we are facing an epidemic of antisemitism.”

David Southwick — the deputy leader of the Liberal Party in Victoria who represents Caulfield in the state’s Legislative Assembly — commented, “Melbourne has been the home for more Holocaust survivors than anywhere outside of Israel and the last thing that these survivors would have expected would be to have a Nazi swastika in their backyard.”

“It’s very traumatic to have these situations occur,” he noted.

Just last week, in another antisemitic incident in Victoria, a campaign poster for Australian Labour MP Josh Burns was defaced with a swastika.

A report published by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) in December revealed there had been a 35% jump in antisemitic incidents in Australia in 2021 from the previous year.

The study — which can be read in full here — found increases in four categories: abuse/harassment (14% rise, from 128 to 147), graffiti (152% rise, from 42 to 106), stickers/posters (157% rise, from 28 to 72), and vandalism (10% rise, from 10 to 11).