Swastika Found Defacing Memorial for Tree of Life Synagogue Victims on Duke Campus

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A mural on a wall at the edge of Duke University’s freshman campus created to honor the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting was found defaced with a swastika on Sunday.


Several students were able to take photos of the swastika before it was covered with a garbage bag and later painted over by Duke maintenance workers, according to the Chronicle, the student paper.

The vandalism came to university leadership’s attention after one of students that helped paint the mural posted about it on social media. The mural initially included the names of the 11 people shot and killed by Robert Bowers in Pittsburgh three weeks ago. Next to the names was a golden Star of David and the phrase “We must build this world from love” in both English and Hebrew.

The swastika isn’t even the first to pop up this month on the North Carolina college campus. Just two weeks ago, a pumpkin with a swastika carved in it was found near the Gilbert-Addoms dorm on East Campus, where all the freshman housing is located; the same night, students came across a flyer with the words “It’s okay to be white.” In September, a mural honoring Latinx Heritage Month was immediately spray-painted over by vandals; in August, a bathroom stall door was defaced with a swastika; and in 2015, a noose was found hanging right outside the student center.