Swastika in Hackensack

Swastika in Hackensack

Hate symbol scrawled on door brings back bad memories

A swastika was scrawled on Kelly Nurnberg-Darzi's apartment door in Hackensack, September 10, 2017
A swastika was scrawled on Kelly Nurnberg-Darzi's apartment door in Hackensack, September 10, 2017

Kelly Nurnberg-Darzi burst into tears on Sunday morning.

That’s when she saw a swastika scrawled in black marker on the door of her Hackensack apartment. “I don’t have the words to describe how I felt,” she said.

Ms. Nurnberg-Darzi lives on the 10th floor, so she is certain one of her neighbors drew the swastika. She immediately called the Hackensack police, who took a report.

“What can they do?” she asked. “I really don’t expect the police to do anything. What are they going to do, knock on doors and ask people to draw a swastika and see if it matches? Question them how they feel about Jews?

“It’s not about Jews,” she said. “If you put up a swastika, you hate everyone. If you hate one, you hate all, and primarily you hate yourself.”

Ms. Nurnberg-Darzi is president of her building’s board. It could be that someone drew the swastika out of anger over something involving the building management.

“If you’re upset with me, knock on my door, throw a rotten egg or a tomato,” she said. “Put a dead mouse at my door. But a swastika is just a very different level. That’s terror. You’re trying to create a fear in me. It’s just unacceptable.”

The building was scheduled to have an owners meeting Tuesday night. On Monday, Ms. Nurnberg-Darzi said she planned to have a police officer attend the meeting and that she plans to display pictures of the Holocaust there.

“I don’t think people understand what a swastika means,” she said. She also plans on installing security cameras in the building.

“That’s something for me to do,” she said.

Ms. Nurnberg-Darzi immigrated to the United States from Romania with her family when she was 10 years old, in 1987. She remembers her life in Romania; in particular she remembers when her anti-Semitic second grade teacher hit her in the face. “She slapped me and said I was just like my mother,” Ms. Nurnberg-Darzi said. “My family was very wealthy and not liked for being Jewish.”

She grew up hearing stories of the Holocaust from her grandmother, who survived the war years in hiding. “She told me the story of a very dear friend of hers. He was a piano player. They simply broke his fingers and pulled out his nails.

“What can I tell you? They just destroyed everything that was good and free.”

She’s not sure how much attention should be paid to the swastika on her door. “Someone like this doesn’t deserve to be put on TV,” she said. “They sensationalize everything. They glamorize it. This doesn’t deserve any of that.

“Whoever did it deserves jail time. Not even therapy, not even mental health — just jail.”