Congregants at a Brisbane synagogue were confronted by the sight of a Nazi flag flying from a nearby apartment window, a local Jewish leader says.
Visitors to the synagogue reported seeing the swastika symbol hanging from a UniLodge complex on Margaret St in the CBD on Saturday morning, Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies vice president Jason Steinberg told AAP.
“That flag and that symbol, the Nazi swastika symbol, represents one of the most evil moments in human history,” Mr Steinberg said on Saturday.
“For that to appear in 2021 in Brisbane over a synagogue is just atrocious.”
Queensland Police confirmed they went to the apartment, seized the flag and issued the resident a notice to appear for public nuisance.
However Mr Steinberg wants the state’s laws modified to make it clear showing the symbol is unacceptable.
Reviewing hate crime legislation
“The state parliament is reviewing the hate crime legislation as we speak,” he said.
“We called on the banning of the swastika to be displayed and Nazi flags like this because at the moment … it doesn’t breach the serious hate or vilification law.”
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner labelled the display as “sickening” and “pure evil”.
“Under the current inadequate laws, this is likely to be classified as nothing more than a low-level ‘public nuisance’. Not good enough!” he posted to Twitter on Sunday.
Queensland Multicultural Affairs Minister Leanne Linard also took to social media to call out the “disgraceful” act.
“Incidents like this are why the Palaszczuk Government launched an inquiry into serious vilification and hate crime,” Ms Linard posted on Facebook on Saturday.
“This is not who we are as Queenslanders and should be called out at every opportunity.”
On November 9, the Jewish community remembers Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.
Nazis flew their flag in German streets and smashed synagogue windows on an evening of violence that effectively marked the beginning of the Holocaust, Mr Steinberg said.
“I’m obviously not saying we’re living in Nazi Germany, but to see that brings for us as a community into the realisation that there are people on the streets of Brisbane who hate Jews. And that’s not a nice feeling.