From Councilman Michael Nelson’s office:
Council Member Michael C. Nelson, Chairman of the City Council Jewish Caucus, is outraged over the apparent anti-Semitic vandalism that occurred at Washington Cemetery this past weekend. The cemetery is Brooklyn’s largest Jewish cemetery, and has been the final resting place for the Brooklyn Jewish community for almost 150 years. Between 100 and 200 gravestones of Jews, many of which memorialized recent Russian Jewish immigrants and Holocaust survivors, were knocked over and destroyed beyond repair.
Although the police have just begun their investigation, Councilman Nelson implores the NYPD to classify this incident as a hate crime. “It is obvious that the targets were the deceased Jewish individuals buried in this cemetery and their families who now have to deal with more heartbreak after saying goodbye and burying their loved ones,” said Councilman Nelson. “As an elected official representing a district with a large Russian and Jewish population, I strongly condemn this and will work with the police to bring the perpetrators who committed these unspeakable and unholy acts to justice and make it known that these actions are not tolerated.”
In an effort to aid the police in their investigation, Councilman Nelson is offering a $1000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of these criminals. Moreover, Councilman Nelson is disturbed over the fact that the families are responsible for replacing the gravestones of their loved ones. The councilman is calling upon Washington Cemetery to sit down with the families and discuss some form of financial compensation and will seek possible legislation if needed.
“Having chosen Washington Cemetery as the final resting place for their loved ones, the families of the deceased are entrusting the safety and security of the burial ground to the owners and caretakers of the cemetery,” explained Councilman Nelson. “Therefore, area security should be provided and the cemetery should have insurance for incidents like this. It is absurd to have the families bear the full cost of replacing the gravestones.”