FARMINGTON, Conn. (WFSB) — There is shock and outrage over threats and hateful remarks made against a Connecticut organization that fights anti-Semitism.
Voices of Hope, a Farmington-based non-profit that educates people about the Holocaust, was attacked during a recent Zoom meeting.
Farmington police are calling this a hate crime are investigating.
A recording of the Zoom meeting shows one participating saying they are a “second generation Holocaust survivor.”
Then, someone else made a comment, saying “Ha ha the Holocaust never happened,” which caused immediate concern.
Voices of Hope, the host of the meeting, tried to stop it, but the attacks kept coming.
The Zoom meeting’s guest speaker was Daphne Geismar, whose family survived the Holocaust.
As soon as she put up some drawings from her grandfather’s journal, someone started putting up swastikas.
“It’s right to the heart when something like this happens. It’s on my door-step, it’s no different than somebody spraying a swastika on the synagogue I belong to,” said Peter Fishman, president of Voices of Hope.
His family also made it out of Germany alive, and they’ve been doing many lectures via Zoom because of COVID-19. They never expected anything like this.
“You hear what these individuals went through during the Holocaust and how they’re children are dealing with it, but last night was just a different. It was shocking. It was hurtful,” said Kathy Fishman, executive director of Voices of Hope.
They are working with Farmington police to find out who did this.
The man who spoke came up on the Zoom as “Mike Richard,” but there may have been more.
Channel 3 reached out to Zoom, which said they strongly condemn such behavior. The company said it also has updated their security settings, reporting mechanisms and security controls.
With more and more people communicating virtually, it’s important to learn how to stop those with bad intentions from getting access. For this group, it’s important not to give up.
“We are going to continue to educate our youth because they are the ones we can hopefully change,” Kathy Fishman said.
Farmington police are looking at the video.
Hate crimes are a felony in Connecticut, with fines up to $3,000.
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