Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Swastikas Spray Painted On Jewish Columbia Professor’s Office

A Columbia University professor’s office was vandalized with two swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur, CNN reported.

Elizabeth Midlarsky, who is Jewish, has published articles on the Holocaust. The NYPD launched an investigation into what appears to be a hate crime.

“I opened the outer door and almost passed out,” she told CNN, about the moment she saw the two red swastikas and the word “YID” spray painted on a wall outside her office.

Midlarsky has been working at the university’s Teachers College for 28 years. She reported the vandalism to security and was brought home in a van, according to CNN.

“I was so shaky, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it,” she added.

The graffiti also left her students shaken and in tears, she told the New York Daily News.

Thomas Bailey, the president of Columbia’s Teachers College, put out a statement Wednesday, when the incident was reported.

“We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society,” he said. “We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.”

Midlarsky has been targeted before. In October 2007, someone spray painted a swastika on her door in addition to writing her name and crossing it out, the Daily News reported. Around the same time, she told CNN, she began receiving hate mail by letter and email.

She said she believes those incidents were connected to her work as a Jewish activist. She had been engaging in more in-depth research on the Holocaust and protested a speech Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due to give at Columbia.

She told the Daily News that she just doesn’t understand why this is happening now.

“It’s very upsetting. It makes me feel very vulnerable,” she said.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.