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Large spraypainted Swastika, facing Jewish neighbors at 796 Campbrell Street. Photo by Rhonda Spivak.


The Singers house at 796 Campbell (white bungalow) faces the swastika and the word MOVE spraypainted on the side of 792 Campbell St. Photo by Rhonda S


Swastika spray painted on window of sun porch of 792 Campbell which also faces the Jewish residents of 796 Campbell St. Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

 
WHY ARE THERE LARGE SWASTIKAS ON THE HOUSE AT 792 CAMPBELL ST.?

By Rhonda Spivak

Anyone walking down Campbell street between Mather's and Grant in River Heights will be able to see a very large bronze coloured swastika spray painted on the south side of the house at 792 Campbell Street. Underneath the swastika the word MOVE is spray painted. Next to this large is another swastika spray painted on the window of the sun porch of the same house.

The Winnipeg Jewish Review received a "tip" from a source who wishes to remain anonymous, asking us to go to the scene to investigate this matter.

Both swastikas on 792 Campbell face the side door (which is the main entrance) of the house at 796 Campbell.

The house at 796 Campbell  is owned by Marsha and Laurence Singer. Marsha Singer, who has lived there since the 1950’s told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that “I can see these large swastikas every time I open the door or look out my kitchen window. They are staring me in the face.”

Singer said that the swastikas were put there “sometime in the winter last December” [2009] and she doesn’t know who did this.  I assume it was “some kids.”  She added that she assumed that her neighbors who live at 792 didn’t paint over the swastikas “because it was too cold in the winter to paint.”

When asked if she thought these swastikas were directed at her because she is Jewish, Singer responded, “I don’t know who did this but if it’s directed at me, I’m NOT MOVING.  I was here before you [vandals].”

For the past few months, Singer said “Every one who has come to my door has asked me if I know about the swastikas.” She said “I got used to them already.”

Kay Robertson, an elderly non-Jewish woman, who lives at 796 Campbell St. told the  Winnipeg Jewish Review that she reported this matter to the police, “but nothing has happened.” She assumed “It must be some kids who came around here.”

When asked by the Winnipeg Jewish Review, if she was going to paint over the large swastika on the side of her house, Robertson first answered, “I don’t see it because I doesn’t pass by it to enter my house. I don’t care if it’s there. It doesn’t bother me.”

But afterward Robertson said “I don’t like it [the swastika].”

Earl Varlow, an elderly man who lives at Robertson’s  house “part-time” says he intends to paint  over the swastika.  He told the Winnipeg Jewish  Review “I guess we’ll have to replace the porch window.”

Robertson said “Maybe we’ll be able to take a knife and scrape it off the window.”  

Varlow added, “Eventually we’ll have to replace the screen,” since the spray painted swastika is on the screen also.

Varlow also said he was the one who spoke to the police, but he no longer remembered the incident number.

Robertson added, “About two weeks ago, someone came back and shot at the window of our sun porch with a b.b. gun.  I don’t know if it was the same guy or not.”

Roberston and Varlow showed the Winnipeg Jewish Review the hole in the glass window made by the b.b. gun shot.  It is next to the window of the sun porch with the spray painted swastika.

When asked if they had reported this second incident to the police, Robertson said, “No I haven’t. They won’t know who did it”, and said she didn’t know why her house is being targeted.

Neither Robertson or Varlow indicated that they had decided one way or another whether they were going to notify the police.

On Robertson’s garage facing the back lane there is the word “gov?” also spray painted n what appears to be the same colour spray paint as the swastikas.

When asked by the Winnipeg Jewish Review if they have any enemies that would do this kind of thing, Varlow answered, “No, not that we know.  We assume its just some kids doing this, but we don’t know why they chose ours house.”

Robertson said she didn’t know whether the vandals knew that her neighbor who would be facing the swastikas on her house was Jewish.

When the Winnipeg Jewish Review pointed out that anyone walking down the street would be able to see the  large swastika on the side of her house, Robertson said, “Really, I didn’t realize that.”


Singer told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that there is a “smaller spray painted swastika” on the garage a couple houses up the way closer to Grant.”

On inspection, the Winnipeg Jewish Review found a spray painted insignia there, but it  didn’t fully resemble a swastika, although it appeared to be the same colour of spray paint as the other swastikas at 792 Campbell.

CAN OWNERS OF  PRIVATE PROPERTY  LEAVE SWASTIKAS UP?

On May 10, the Winnipeg Jewish Review spoke by telephone with Constable Natalie Aiken of the Winnipeg Police Department who confirmed that “A report about the incident had been made,” but that there were ‘‘no known suspects.”

Aiken advised that the Winnipeg Police had explained to the residents of 792 Campbell St. that the City of Winnipeg would provide free graffiti wipes or paint vouchers so that remedial measures could be taken to remove the swastikas.  Aiken noted that a resident whose home is vandalized with graffiti can call the number 311 and get assistance removing the graffiti.

“She [Robertson] was advised of these measures,” Aiken said, and indicated that the file had been seen by the hate crimes unit of the Winnipeg Police Department.

When asked what the police would do if Robertson did not paint over the swastikas or remedy the situation, Aiken responded, “There is nothing we can do. It is private property and we can’t make her take the graffiti down.”

The Winnipeg Jewish Review then asked Aiken whether in the event a person deliberately chose not to paint over or cover up swastikas visible to his or her neighbors and the public, that person could potentially be the subject of a criminal prosecution for willfully promoting hatred against Jews?

Aiken was unable to answer this question and said that she would have to consider it and get back to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.