Swastikas found drawn on Hamilton sidewalk

Several crudely-drawn swastikas were found on a sidewalk in Kirkendall on family day.

The hate symbols were found on Family Day, last Monday

Kendra Parkinson spotted these swastikas drawn on a sidewalk near Locke Street on Monday. (Kendra Parkinson)

Kendra Parkinson was strolling down a street in Kirkendall on Family Day, talking to her mom on the phone, when she stopped dead in her tracks.

There, crudely scrawled on the sidewalk in chalk on Chatham Street, were several swastikas.

They were misshapen, and accompanied by a drawing of a penis. But that didn't make it any less troubling for her.

"I thought it might have been a kid [who drew them], because it was drawn in chalk," she said, adding that she contacted both Ward 1 Coun. Aidan Johnson and Hamilton police about it.

It represents horror, destruction and evil.- Rabbi Jordan Cohen, Temple Anshe Sholom

"I was just really sad. If this was a kid, it's not knowing really what these symbols mean," she said.

Rabbi Jordan Cohen from Temple Anshe Sholom knows exactly what they mean.

"It represents horror, destruction and evil," Cohen said.

Hamilton police Const. Steve Welton told CBC News that police are currently investigating. "These types of incidents have no place in our community, or anywhere for that matter," Welton said.

The swastika has a long history, and was used as sacred symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism before it was adopted by the Nazis and became synonymous with hatred.

"To me, it targets a lot of individuals," Parkinson said. "The Jewish faith, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and any non-Christian religions."

Similar incidents have sprung up across Canada in recent months. Someone carved a swastika in the snow on the football field at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. in January, while a teen who spray-painted racial slurs and swastikas at six different locations in Ottawa last November pleaded guilty last week.

Kendra Parkinson says she discovered the swastikas on this street. (Kendra Parkinson)

"The extreme right and the extremists seem to feel like this is their time," Cohen said. "We're going through what I hope is just a blip in history."

Any Jewish person would still have visceral reaction to seeing a swastika to this day, Cohen said.

This could be a case of a young person drawing it for sheer "shock value," he said, without truly understanding the depths of the hatred that comes with it.

"But it's still not something we can take lightly," he said. "There is a fair amount of holocaust education in schools … you'd think young people would understand."

Ward 1 Coun. Aidan Johnson told CBC News that the need for education is "very clearly on display" when you see something like this.

"Anti-Semitism is one of the great evils," he said. "Swastikas drawn on city property is clearly concerning."

Though the rain would have washed them away by now, Cohen says the incident just cements the need for young people to be properly educated on the holocaust, and Anti-Semitism.

"I hope parents and teachers step up and make sure that young people understand what it means to use those kinds of symbols."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.