On Monday night, swastikas and death threats were left on four cars in a Montreal apartment building’s parking garage, frightening the residents living there.
Daniel, one of the residents whose car was damaged, described the scene: “There were four cars with swastikas on them, and five cars with envelopes on them, and on the white envelopes there were swastikas on them. The swastikas were huge. They covered pretty much the majority of the hood.” He also said a neighbor’s car’s windshield was smashed and a pickaxe lay next to the car.
The attack occurred in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood. Another resident told CBC News that one of the envelopes contained a bullet with a written threat. He didn’t know if the other envelopes had bullets because police collected them before they could be opened. He said, “I’m just shocked. This is a hate crime and you never expect it to happen in your community. NDG’s a great community, the people in the building are great.”
Daniel told CBC, “I’ve lived in Montreal my whole life … I’ve never seen this before first-hand, never been a victim of it and just to have it happen literally in your own home, it just left me speechless.”
Const. Anie Lemieux said police were alerted at roughly 10:20 p.m. ET Monday. He stated, “Elements that were taken from the scene by investigators lead them to believe that this could be a hate crime. Investigators are still looking for information, and trying to understand why this happened in the garage.”
Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, said, “You’re not dealing with a bunch of individuals who had a can of spray paint and decided, ‘Why not? We’ll have some fun.’ These guys or girls planned this. They specifically set out with bullets in their pockets, with envelopes, with notes and obviously with spray paint. Our reaction is one of shock, one of disgust and one of fear… When you go out and purchase bullets and take the time to write a death message, this is extremely serious.”
Montreal has received an influx of Jews from France in recent years, as anti-Semitism in France has risen along with the unemployment rate. Serge Cwajgenbaum, the Lyon, France-born secretary general of the European Jewish Congress, said last November, “I hear and I know of young couples moving to Quebec. The reason is not necessarily related to the rise of anti-Semitism, but it’s more to find a proper future, in terms of good work, good salaries and a cheaper way of life.” Monique Lapointe, director of Agence Ometz, Montreal’s primary Jewish social services and resettlement organization, said there was a noticeable increase in émigrés in 2014.
The province of Quebec has experienced a couple of well-known anti-Semitic incidents recently; in spring 2014, Louise Mailloux, a candidate from the separatist Parti Quebecois, claimed that kosher-certified products had higher price tags to fund Jewish interest groups; last August, Gilles Proulx, a well-known Montreal columnist and television host, said Jewish communities worldwide “provoke the hatred” of the countries in which they live.