Photo of Sara Ginaite, Jewish resistance fighter from Lithuania (1944)

When Dolly Rabinovich was a child in Czechoslovakia, someone painted swastikas with the word “Juden” on her family’s garage. That was 1938, the beginning of the Nazi occupation. In 2012 (73 years later!) someone painted swastikas with the words “Die Jew” on a garage near her home in Brooklyn. That’s not the kind of déjà vu anyone wants.

A survivor of Auschwitz and its infamous death march, Rabinowitz tells The New York Times, “When I see something like that, I get frightened. Because that was the beginning of something.”

“That it should happen again in 19 — no, 2012,” she says. “Those nightmares are still within us; the whole family perished.”

The Times article was written in response to recent anti-Semitic acts plaguing Brooklyn and Manhattan, including:

  • In November, four cars in Flatbush were burned, two of which were painted with swastikas and two with KKK
  • A month later, someone changed the sign on the subway from “Avenue J” to “Avenue Jew”
  • More swastikas appeared in a residential garage near Avenue L and on a staircase outside a religious school
  • Elderly residents in Manhattan and Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, have received threatening phone calls

But the article ends on a bold note with Shoshanah Katz, another elderly Holocaust survivor who lives in Brooklyn, who said,

“These people want attention. But we don’t take it in this country.”

Hell yeah, Shoshanah! That’s American machismo, in a good way. It’s also what I call Brooklyn pride.

Note: The photo above is neither Dolly Rabinowitz nor Shoshanah Katz. It’s Sara Ginaite, a Lithuanian Jew who escaped into the forests and joined the anti-Nazi partisans. She is 88 years old and lives in Toronto.