In a shocking act of vandalism, two powerful murals addressing antisemitism and the horrors of the Holocaust were defaced in Milan, Italy. The murals, created by contemporary artist aleXsandro Palombo, featured Anne Frank and the iconic Warsaw ghetto boy.
“Innocence, Hate and Hope” Anne Frank cries, the Warsaw ghetto boy and a little girl from Gaza. #streetart by aleXsandro Palombo in Milan #FreePalestine #HamasTerrorists #IsraelPalestineConflict pic.twitter.com/nsxxv19ENg
— aleXsandro Palombo (@PalomboArtist) November 9, 2023
The first mural, situated in the central Piazza Castello, depicted Frank crying while holding the Israeli flag. It was intended as a symbol against antisemitism. However, within 24 hours of its unveiling, the mural was vandalized and covered with large “FREE GAZA” writings. The second mural, located in the Porta Nuova Project area, portrayed the Warsaw Ghetto Boy with raised hands, a symbol of the Holocaust. Sadly, this mural too was defaced, erasing the child entirely.
“These artworks were meant to send a powerful message against antisemitism and hatred,” said Palombo, expressing his disappointment over the vandalism of his artwork.
Italian Deputy PM condemns the vandalism
These artworks, part of Palombo’s “Innocence, Hate, and Hope” series, appeared in Milan a month after the Hamas attack against Israel. They aimed to address the rising wave of antisemitism, terrorism, and denied childhood. The artist’s sudden appearance in various locations across the city sparked both appreciation and controversy.
Matteo Salvini, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Italian government, expressed his condemnation of the vandalism, denouncing the act against the artist’s murals. “Such actions have no place in our society. We must stand together against hatred,” Salvini remarked.
Batya Brutin, an Israeli art historian researcher who received the Yad Vashem Award for lifetime achievement in Holocaust education, described Palombo’s street art as “an important message of warning to the world.”
These incidents follow a recent surge in similar acts of vandalism in Italy. On November 2nd, a Star of David appeared on a central building in Rome, and four golden cobblestones, known as “stumbling stones,” were vandalized. These events underline the concerning resurgence of anti-Semitism.
“While the motivations of the vandals remain unclear, we must remember the importance of confronting anti-Semitism and hatred wherever it exists,” said Brutin, emphasizing the need for collective action.