Columbia University Professor's Office Targeted With anti-Semitic Graffiti

'I was so shaky, I wasn't sure I was going to make it': 77-year-old Jewish professor whose research focuses on Holocaust studies found swastikas scrawled on her office door alongside the word 'Yid' in second such attack against her

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The swastikas scrawled on the door to Prof. Midlarsky's office.
The swastikas scrawled on the door to Prof. Midlarsky's office. Credit: Columbia Spectator/Twitter

A Jewish professor's New York office was targeted in an anti-Semitic attack, Columbia University's student-run newspaper reported Wednesday.

Elizabeth Midlarsky, 77, who teaches and researches the Holocaust at Columbia Teachers College, arrived at work on Wednesday to discover two red swastikas had been scrawled on the door to her office alongside the word “Yid” (a derogatory term for “Jew”), the Columbia Spectator wrote.

Midlarsky, who was the target of a similar incident in the past, told CNN that while such acts of vandalism did not surprise her, she thought the reason for Wednesday's incident was “connected to a trend and upsurge in anti-Semitism that we've seen in recent years.”

>> Anti-Semitic online attacks spiked ahead of U.S. midterms, ADL says

The New York State Department police is investigating the incident, and no perpetrator has been detained so far.

“I was so shaky, I wasn't sure I was going to make it,” Midlarsky said of the incident. She added that she had to be accompanied to her home immediately after she alerted the university's security staff.

In 2007, Midlarsky's office was vandalized with a graffiti of a swastika. She also found anti-Semitic flyers in her mailbox. This previous incident was “horrifying but not surprising,” the professor said, explaining that she believed the recurrence of such aggression against her was directly linked to a cultural change at a national level in the United States.

Columbia Teachers College's president, Thomas Bailey, said in a statement that the university is cooperating on the case with police.

“We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society. We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community,” Bailey said in a statement.

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