New York City police are investigating an anti-Semitic message found at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn on Thursday.
“Hitler is Coming” was written on a Post-it note and placed on a billboard display in front of the museum, said NYPD spokesperson Sophia Mason.
The message is the latest incident in New York, which has seen a 67% increase in hate crimes from April 2018 to April 2019, according to New York City Police Department.
The NYPD is looking into whether the note constitutes a hate crime. Police said they do not have a suspect.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he had directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the NYPD’s investigation.
“It’s part of a very troubling pattern that we’re seeing. Increased anti-Semitic attacks all across this country and all across this state,” Cuomo said on Friday.
“It’s part of this cancer that has been injected into this nation’s body that is about hate, and about separation and about fearing differences. It is repugnant to who we are, it is repugnant to what we believe. These are hate crimes. We will prosecute the person to the fullest extent of the law, I promise you.”
The museum’s co-founder and director of external affairs, Devorah Halberstam, said this is not the first time the museum has been subject to threats. The museum has had around 2 million visitors since it opened in 2005.
“The mission is to promote tolerance and understanding,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s very vile.”
The billboard display is designed as a place where children are encouraged to “write acts of goodness and kindness,” Halberstam said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the incident on his Twitter account.
“Imagine being a child who went to this mural for inspiration only to find this vile message.” de Blasio wrote. “A wave of hatred has been allowed to fester in our society.”
Thursday’s message follows other attacks against Jews in the city this year. In February, two swastikas written in black marker were found in a Brooklyn elementary schoolyard, which the NYPD hate crime task force is investigating.
Earlier in the month, a Nazi eagle, the words “Hail Hitler” and dozens of other swastikas were found written in chalk at a Queens schoolyard. Both incidents are being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force.
Today, 64% of Americans agree that Jews face some discrimination, a 20% increase from 2016, according to the Pew Research Center.