Vandals paint swastika at cemetery where WWII veterans are buried

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JACKSON, MI (WILX) -- A swastika was found painted at a cemetery in Jackson where World War II soldiers have been laid to rest.

It's an act of vandalism that's angering the community.

Yasirah Nelson's great grandfather, Irvin Schmidt is buried at Mount Evergreen Cemetery in Jackson which is located at 1047 Greenwood Ave.

The Nazis' invaded his home city in Germany and so he fled to the United States.

"He joined the army in 1941 and he went to Normandy and he fought in Germany as well," Nelson said.

Nelson said her grandfather fought the Nazis' and lost a leg in the war. Seeing a swastika painted on the wall surrounding the cemetery was very upsetting.

"11 million people had died and there are many people who are still affected by it today. Many Jews who are still living who had lived through the holocaust who are here today and they're not going to find it funny and my grandfather who fought the Nazis."

A citizen told Mayor Derek Dobies that the swastika was there Friday morning, and Dobies reported the vandalism to the Jackson Police Department.

The city's Parks and Recreation department says about 120 WWII veterans are buried there.

New data from the anti-defamation league shows the Jewish community in the U.S. experienced near-historic levels of anti-Antisemitism last year, those incidents included cases of assaults, harassment and vandalism.

This year there was also a deadly shooting during Passover at a synagogue in San Diego.

"We see white nationalists coming out and disrupting pride events that celebrate our diversity and as a state. i think that unfortunately the case we sometimes see in our city too," said Mayor Dobies.

The symbol was removed Friday morning, but Nelson wants her message to remain.

"I just wish people would look up history of WWII and understand what had happened and why this is so important."

Police said the vandalism may have happened overnight, or sometime early Friday morning.

If you saw or know anything about the incident, contact Jackson Police.