MARBLEHEAD – More than a week after two flyers denying the Holocaust were found on the grounds of Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, police have posted a video on Facebook that appears to show a man attaching a flyer to the temple’s front entrance sign and then photographing it.
The suspect was recorded that night by multiple security cameras on the temple’s grounds. In the video, a man strolls through the temple’s main parking lot at 9:27 p.m. on July 14. The Caucasian man is seen wearing red shorts, a blue or purple T-shirt, a dark colored baseball hat and white sneakers. In the video, he approaches the entrance sign, attaches a paper to it, and steps back and appears to photograph the paper and sign. Another camera captures the man jogging away, with a slight limp, out of the parking lot at 9:30 p.m.
A second flyer was found on a ‘no parking’ sign on temple grounds. To date, no video has been released documenting that posting.
“If anyone recognizes this individual please call Marblehead Police Detective Gay at 781-631-1212,” Marblehead Police wrote on its Facebook page.
The flyers, signed by the Holocaust denial group Daily Stormer included the language: “Holo-caust = Fake News. The people that lied about soap and lampshades are lying about gas chambers and ovens.” The posters were attached to a no-parking sign and the synagogue’s main sign by its entrance.
“Sadly, this is not an isolated or unique incident here in Marblehead or for the Jewish community – to be targeted for anti-Semitic hate literature messaging and Holocaust denial,” said Rabbi David Meyer, who leads Temple Emanu-El. “The important thing is that we respond to it by bringing on board our community partners, such as the Anti-Defamation League, Marblehead Police Department, the press, and other local colleagues and congregations. Not only to be on alert, but also to continue standing together against such hatred.”
Jamie Friedman, the temple’s executive director, said a Hebrew School teacher alerted the temple about the hate posters on Monday, July 15. She said the temple immediately notified the Marblehead Police.
“My thoughts are that having someone have that hate and be on our property is chilling. We know about this. It’s not an isolated incident,” said Friedman.
In recent decades in Marblehead, several anti-Semitic incidents have occurred at temples, and on public places. More than 25 years ago, Temple Emanu-El and the nearby Jewish Community Center were defaced with swastikas and other hate speech. In July, 2017, a slew of anti-Semitic and hate slogans was painted on the Marblehead Neck causeway. In 2016, police were summoned to an athletic field at Marblehead High School where they discovered that the phrase “JEWS DID 9/11” had been raked into the infield dirt. Also that year, swastikas were found painted in public places, including a Marblehead basketball court. To date, there have been no arrests for those incidents.
“We are deeply disturbed by this anti-Semitic attack on Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead. The temple was targeted in a deliberate and calculated manner for the sole purpose of sending a message of hate and intimidation to the community,” said Robert Trestan, the director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New England regional office. The ADL is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
“ADL’s Center on Extremism has verified this incident to be part of a coordinated white supremacist flyer distribution campaign spanning multiple states and regions. We are aware of similar anti-Semitic flyering incidents at synagogues in Washington and Texas.”
Meyer believes Jews should not be intimidated by Holocaust denial language. “My message is that standing together proudly and strongly remains as important now as it has always been, perhaps even more important. We will not be frightened or bullied into cowardice and will stand strong for what this temple and what the Jewish people have always stood for.
“Holocaust denial is a tool of Jew hatred, as well as a tool of anti-Israel activism. And it goes hand and hand with other messages of racism that target against the Jewish people.”