Jewish Residents Upset Over Antisemitic Graffiti
Homeowners also dissatisfied with Lockridge Forest subdivision response.
A police report was filed with the Gwinnett County Police Department a day after swastikas and Heil Hitler were discovered March 13, drawn into pollen on a sliding board in the playground area of the Lockridge Forest subdivision. The 450-home subdivision, partly in DeKalb County and partly in Gwinnett County, reportedly includes several Jewish homeowners who are upset at both the incident and the subdivision’s response.
The police report was filed by Chet Roberts, president of the swim and tennis committee. He sent an email three days after the discovery to members of his group, which doesn’t include the full subdivision owners, saying: “It’s been brought to our attention that some hateful rhetoric was scrawled in some pollen that had collected on one of the children’s slides. We have contacted the proper authorities regarding this issue and are putting the issue in their hands to address this particular issue.”
He also wrote that, “As a board, we have ongoing discussions about incidents that have and continue to happen at the pool that go against our rules and regulations. To address these incidents, our discussions include installation of motion lights, lighting upgrades in darker areas, camera installations and routine monitoring of the club by Gwinnett PD when available. We are asking each member of our club to maintain vigilance and report anything illegal to the proper authorities or to contact the board with any questions or concerns.”
Roberts didn’t respond to several attempts to reach him for comment.
The graffiti was discovered by California relatives of Rissa Shapiro, whom they were visiting to celebrate her mother’s 95th birthday. She said she called Roberts to let him know and she took several photos which she shared with her neighbors.
“I don’t know if it was kids or not [responsible for the graffiti], but it was frightening,” she said. Her 11-year-old relative didn’t understand why the adults were upset, saying that he didn’t see any dirty words. So, the adults had to explain the reference to the Holocaust, which was upsetting for them.
Shapiro, who has lived in the subdivision for more than two years, said that Roberts told her that he would contact State House Rep. Esther Panitch, but when the AJT contacted her, she said she had not “yet” been contacted.
One of the residents of Lockridge Forest said she was upset not only by the graffiti, but also by her subdivision’s response. “Nothing was really done. The email was sent to the swim and tennis members but that’s not many people,” said Risa Jennison, who has lived in the subdivision about three years. She pointed out that her father lived through the Holocaust, losing all his family members except a brother.
The subdivision, she charged, “Is just sweeping it under the rug. The neighborhood needs to know what’s going on. There are a lot of Jewish people in the neighborhood,” citing some across her street and behind her house.
She added that she was particularly concerned that the five- and six-year-old children that play on the equipment would see the graffiti, which she acknowledged, was probably drawn by teenagers.
Shapiro said that the graffiti was gone days later, but she didn’t know if Roberts had cleaned it up or the rain had just washed away the pollen.