BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise has been vandalized by stickers featuring a swastika and the words "we are everywhere."
The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights posted on Facebook the stickers had been placed there on Tuesday.
"The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was built as a physical statement of our shared values," said one of the posts on the Wassmuth Center Facebook page. "One of those values includes standing up to confront hate."
Boise Police were called and given security footage from the site. The stickers have since been removed and the executive director of the Wassmuth Center, Dr. Dan Prinzing, tells said that it is time to stand up and speak out, but that doesn't mean meeting hate with more hate.
Community members have reached out wanting to hold a vigil at the memorial, but in observance of current health guidelines, Dr. Prinzing says standing up for what is right when standing alone is just as powerful.
"We need to stand together in goodness. we need to stand together in kindness," said Dr. Prinzing. "We also need to stand up in our homes and our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our businesses. When we hear words that are targeting someone we need to step in. We need to be an upstander."
Community members later dropped of flowers in response to the vandalism.
While it has been suggested to hold a vigil in the Memorial, we are asking that we stand together to confront hate - BUT NOT physically stand together in the Memorial. Let us each stand up and be a force of goodness. Let us stand together as a community of compassion.— Wassmuth Center (@IdaHumanRights) December 9, 2020
The Idaho Human Rights Commission released the following statement about the recent protests and vandalism at the Memorial.
The Idaho Human Rights Commission strongly denounces the uncivil and threatening behavior against public officials and the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights. Protesting in a manner that degrades, threatens, and intimidates anyone abuses the constitutional right to free speech. We condemn ongoing, reprehensible, and abusive acts against public officials and their families and the posting of Nazi symbols at the Anne Frank Memorial. The Idaho Human Rights Commission stands against such acts of hate and in support of civil and human rights for all Idahoans, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, ability, sex, or age.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said her office has reached out to the center as well as local synagogues and are working with Boise Police Department.
McLean released the following statement in response to the vandalism:
Racism and antisemitism are not welcome in Boise and must be addressed. We will work together as a community to make sure it is.
This is not normal—the rhetoric we've seen over the past days and months has no place in our community. Bad actors who use racist and violent rhetoric are not welcome in this community. We are committed to an open and welcoming city for everyone, and leaders from the business, cultural, and religious community stand with us. We will collaborate closely with all stakeholders in our community to protect these values.
These actions are upsetting. This has been incredibly difficult, and we understand people are hurting. Our hearts are with everyone affected and everyone facing anxiety, loss, uncertainty and injustice. We will continue to work with all of you to make Boise a better place for everyone to live.
Events like these attract attention, but we know through Boise residents' everyday actions that this is a place of kindness and openness. It is part of Boise's identity, and if we work together, the rest of the state and country will see the real Boise.
The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was dedicated to the public in 2002 and was built by the Wassmuth Center. The memorial is located near the downtown Boise Library off the Greenbelt. You can also take a virtual tour of the memorial by clicking here.
This story was originally published by Katie Kloppenburg on KIVI in Boise, Idaho.