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April 18, 2022 12:57 pm

Swastika Drawn on Australian Soccer Field Remains for Weeks, Sparks Outcry From Grandson of Holocaust Survivor

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A Melbourne, Australia soccer stadium defaced with a large swastika. Photo: Anti-Defamation Commission

A giant swastika drawn on a soccer field in Melbourne, Australia was left untouched weeks after the local council was made aware of it, an Australian civil rights group said on Sunday.

The grandson of a Holocaust survivor was “shocked and horrified” upon seeing the swastika while taking a private helicopter ride across parts of Victoria, and reported the incident to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), the group said.

“My grandfather is the sole survivor of his family. To see [the swastika] at that sort of scale is pretty horrifying,” the man told Australia’s 9News. “It’s concerning as how does something like that take place? How is there no action, how is there no immediate action? People should understand why something like this is so bad and how it does actually affect people.”

The swastika was reportedly drawn in the grass with chemicals and can be seen from the ground as well as from air. Families who walk in the area said the grass as been discolored from the symbol for at least a month, according to 9News.

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The Lilydale Eagles Soccer Club met with the Yarra Ranges Council to discuss the offensive vandalism on March 2. The soccer team said in a statement that the council told them “actions such as these are becoming more frequent” in the area and that grass seed would be used to cover the dead grass, 9News reported. Other options to cover the swastika would force the field to close for at least eight weeks, explained the council, which also said in a statement that it is “incredibly disappointed and frustrated by this highly offensive act of vandalism.”

“This kind of senseless behavior not only causes distress to the clubs members and those in the community who use the grounds, but also comes at a cost to the ratepayers of Yarra Ranges to remove it,” the council further said.

Last year Victoria became the first state or territory in Australia to announce it will ban the public display of Nazi symbols. The attorney-general of New South Wales  said earlier this month that NSW will pass legislation that would outlaw waving Nazi flags and publicly displaying memorabilia featuring swastikas.

“This is not just graffiti on the ground — it is a frontal assault on our values, and when this type of cruel antisemitic vandalism comes into full view, it reminds us that there are hardcore bigots in our midst,” commented Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dvir Abramovich in a statement. “Make no mistake: this is a serious threat to the fabric of our cohesive, multicultural life, and we call on leaders to swiftly decry such repulsive conduct and to declare in one voice that such a racist agenda will never find a safe haven in our midst.”

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