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Boston Holocaust Memorial vandalized for second time this summer

A 17-year-old is charged with destruction of property after witnesses reported seeing him throw a rock at the glass memorial.
The New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston was vandalized for the second time this summer. Photo: CJPBoston/Twitter
The New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston was vandalized for the second time this summer. Photo: CJPBoston/Twitter

A teenage boy has been charged with willful and malicious destruction of property after allegedly vandalizing Boston’s New England Holocaust Memorial in the second such incident this summer.

Boston police responded to a call concerning vandalism at the memorial around 6:30 p.m. Monday. The 17-year-old male from Malden had been stopped by two bystanders after they witnessed him throwing a rock at the memorial, officials said. One of the lower panels was shattered, scattering glass over the ground.

Officials are not releasing the name of the 17-year-old involved with this incident as he is a juvenile. He was arraigned in Boston Juvenile Court on Tuesday, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, and released on personal recognizance. 

He was ordered to stay away from the New England Holocaust Memorial and to comply with mental health treatment. 

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The memorial contains six towers, representative of the 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust, the six years of the Final Solution and the six main death camps where the majority of European Jews were murdered.

Each tower contains 22 panes of glass, for a total of 132 panes, that are etched with the numbers that were tattooed on the arms of those who endured and perished in Nazi death camps.

The memorial is maintained by Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council. Together, the organizations released a statement saying that they are “appalled and saddened” that the memorial was vandalized for the second time in less than two months.

The vandalism also followed a white supremacist rally this past weekend that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., resulting in one death and dozens injured.

“The images of Nazis marching in the streets of America over the weekend in Charlottesville and now shattered glass once again at this sacred space in Boston are an affront to our Jewish community and to all those who stand-up against bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism,” the Jewish organizations said in their statement.

“We thank the Boston Police and the Public Works Department for their rapid response and for their continuing support during this difficult time,” it continued. “We will remain resilient and will have a timeline for rebuilding the memorial once we have assessed the damage.”

In July, the memorial was rebuilt and re-dedicated after a 21-year-old Roxbury man threw a rock at one tower and shattered a glass pane. That man, James E. Isaac, plead not guilty to vandalism; his attorneys said he had a history of mental illness.

Mayor Marty Walsh spoke out against hate on Monday following the news of Charlottesville and concerns that a similar rally could be coming to Boston this weekend. After learning of the vandalism, he once again affirmed that position.

“Today and every day Boston stands up against hate. I’m saddened to see such a despicable action in this great city,” he said via Twitter.

Senator Elizabeth Warren also took to the platform to condemn the vandalism.

“Let me be clear,” she wrote. “These cowardly acts of hate aren’t welcome in Boston or anywhere else in this country.”

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans also said in a statement that "this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our city."

"And, in light of the recent events and unrest in Charlottesville, it’s sad to see a young person choose to engage in such senseless and shameful behavior," he added. 

Combined Jewish Philanthropies has shared a way for supporters to contribute to the Holocaust Memorial’s ongoing repairs as well as programs and events that “educate the public and foster reflection about the impact of bigotry during the Holocaust and today.” 

 
 
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