Everyday Antisemitism Italy Vandalism Ξ E-mail

Swastika sprayed on Italian school named after Anne Frank

In Montecchio Maggiore, a small town situated just outside of Vicenza, between Verona and Venice, multiple schools were desecrated with antisemitic graffiti. Public middle school, Anne Frank, was vandalised on the night of Friday, 4th March, as delinquents defaced the school’s sign with a swastika.

Afterwards, evidence suggests the vandals got into the school yard where they tarnished a wall with blasphemy, slander against the school’s vice principle, Alessandra Mantiero, and antisemitic libel. Similar writing was found on elementary school, Manzoni.

Upon arrival at school Monday morning, students and teachers were shocked. Especially poignant is the fact that a school named after a victim of the Holocaust, in remembrance of Nazi persecution, has been targeted with antisemitic violence. In addition to besmirching the schools, the hoodlums knocked about plants and attempted to start a fire. A tree in the courtyard was planted to commemorate the experience of the oppressed during World War II, as the tree Anne Frank watched grow from outside her window in Amsterdam while she was in hiding.

In response to this expression of contempt for a name that is symbolic of persecution, president of the parents’ committee, Barbara Gasparella stated, “It is a very serious act.”

Livio Fedrigo, a teacher at the school, explained, “For us it is not a joke because this act extols a situation that we, in school, fight against. They [the culprits] wanted to strike universal symbols. On our [the teachers’ ] part, we stand in full solidarity with Mantiero.”

Police located the spray-paint can used to deface the schools by Manzoni. Thanks to nearby bank surveillance camera footage, local police have been able to identify the vandals as 13, 14, and 15 year old students.

By Eve Litvak

Global Studies, Brandeis '16