Police called to investigate after tenant draws swastikas in landlord's house
Thursday, September 6, 2007
82-year-old Jewish Bowmanville, Ontario woman Ms. Marion Schwarz's house has been found vandalized with graffiti showing neo-Nazism expressions, as well as swastikas. Broken windows and walls were found ripped open.
The terms "Kike", "Fuck Jews," and "White Power" were written in white around the house, as well as a large green swastika.
The woman's husband Mr. Allan Schwarz, was returning home to their house on King Street East, the town's center, to bring home a present for their 40th wedding anniversary when he found the house not the way he left it.
Bought to start an antique store, the Schwarz's started a cattle business instead and later rented it out. Ten years ago their tenant started to rent the house, just five months ago he stopped paying rent saying he was on welfare. Ms. Schwarz offered to lower his rent. He vandalized and fled, with his son and daughter, from the house on Tuesday morning, the day he was to be evicted. She was accompanied by her son Alan, two police officers, and a locksmith.
"I don't know what happened to him ... Up until the last while, I never had a day's trouble with him. He was friendly," Ms. Schwarz said.
Durham Regional Police are now investigating what they refer to as an "incident", and what lobby group B'nai Brith Canada has argued constitutes a "hate crime".
"A swastika on its own, as per the Criminal Code of Canada, is not a hate crime," said Sgt. Paul McCurbin. "It doesn't have the proper components to be considered a hate crime. For example, if I said that I was going to kill a race of people or we should kill a race of people, that would be considered a hate crime."
A local neighbor, who asked not to be named, swept glass from the broken windows off the sidewalk, worried that dogs could cut their feet. She said the tenants were private people.
A Prisoner of War (POW) camp was located in Bowmanville during World War II (WWII).   Named Camp 30 it held captive German army officers from the Afrika Korps, fliers from the Luftwaffe and naval officers from the Kriegsmarine. Many of them were transferred from England. Among them was famous top U-boat ace of World War II Otto Kretschmer. He was involved in the Battle of Bowmanville.
The Bowmanville boys' school was the building holding the prisoners. The facility had been designed to house 300 boys. Surrounding the existing school buildings was a barbed wire fence. It was not the typical POW camp, having good food and prisoners being well treated. It had gardens and even a swimming pool was built. Movies were shown each week, music concerts were held, and stage plays were produced.
Mr. Schwarz fled from Germany to Canada in 1938. Marion, a Toronto native, and her husband moved to Bowmanville to start a new life.
"In 1938, we found safe haven in Bowmanville," said her son Alan. "It was wonderful place to settle and my parents have been here basically for 70 years. They never anticipated ever facing the same kind of symbolism they had to leave Germany for."
The investigation still continues. The tenant's name has not been released.
"We couldn't foresee anything like this because human beings don't do things like this."
- Canadian Press. "Graffiti on Jewish property a hate crime: advocacy group" — CBC, September 6, 2007
- Barry Hertz. "Jewish landlord's property defaced with swastikas" — National Post, September 5, 2007