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This article was published 4/1/2017 (1717 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg’s normally peaceful Wolseley neighbourhood has been rocked by an anti-Semitic incident on New Year’s Eve.
"We are treating this as a hate crime," Const. Robert Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service told the Free Press Wednesday evening. "We occasionally get international events that will prompt anti-Semitic reactions, but this one is so much more egregious that we’re spending more time on this."
Homeowners in Wolseley who wish to remain anonymous arrived home at around 10 p.m. Dec. 31 to find a red gift bag near their front steps, B’nai Brith said in the release. Inside the bag was a large rock, "roughly the size of a loaf of bread," with a swastika along with an anti-Semitic message painted on it in large upper-case letters:
"DIE JEW BITCH. EINSATZGRUPPEN."
The Einsatzgruppen was a Nazi death squad responsible for the mass killings of Jews along with other minority groups during the Holocaust.
The rock came wrapped in a red ribbon, with the words "Jude Bitch get out of our neighberhood (sic)," written on it.
"Anecdotally, I can count on one hand in the 24 years I’ve been in this position the number of incidents that were as egregious and as threatening as this. We are very concerned about this and taking it very seriously," Carver said in an interview.
After arriving home to find the bag and its contents, the homeowners called the B’nai Brith’s 24-hour anti-hate hotline to report the incident.
"It’s so invasive," one of the homeowners told B’nai Brith, said the news release. "So horrible. It’s difficult to put into words. And it’s frightening, too. We don’t know what would cause someone to do this, but we have had a couple of private issues with people, so who knows?"
Amanda Hohmann, who serves as the national director of the B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights, said this type of incident is rare in Winnipeg.
"While incidents like this happen with relative frequency in other parts of the country, it’s definitely unusual for Winnipeg," she said. "Overall, numbers of anti-Semitic incidents have dropped dramatically there in recent years, so this has to be quite shocking to the community."
B’nai Brith said it will continue to work with both the family and Winnipeg police to "ensure... that this does not result in a general increase in antiSemitism in Winnipeg."
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.