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Friday, July 1, 2022

Swastika graffiti found on children’s climbing frame in Hesketh Park, Dartford

A mum, whose Jewish grandmother fled the Nazis, was horrified to find anti-Semitic graffiti in a children’s park where her daughter was playing.

A number of swastika symbols had been drawn on the climbing frame in Hesketh Park, Dartford.

Cllr Laura Edie reported the swastika graffiti on the children's climbing frame Photo: Laura Edie
Cllr Laura Edie reported the swastika graffiti on the children’s climbing frame Photo: Laura Edie

Cllr Laura Edie said seeing the graffiti with her daughter was particularly “harrowing” because she and her daughter both have Jewish heritage.

She said: “It was quite upsetting because my Jewish grandma actually escaped Nazi Austria when she was 18 and had a difficult life as a cleaner.

“She came to England on her own because her parents could only afford to pay for the train to get her here.

“Many members of her family were murdered by the Nazis.”

Laura's Jewish grandmother escaped Nazi Austria during the Second World War. Photo: Laura Edie
Laura’s Jewish grandmother escaped Nazi Austria during the Second World War. Photo: Laura Edie

The Green Party councillor said her grandmother died before she had the chance to meet her, but she felt a particular connection to her as she was given her grandmother’s name, Helen, as a middle name.

The environmental campaigner said after seeing the vandalism, she was forced to explain it in simple terms to her daughter.

She said: “I’m not saying that this graffiti was an attack on the Jewish community but I thought it was important to explain to my daughter about the history behind the swastika.

Cllr Laura Edie was horrified when she saw swastikas drawn on the climbing frame her daughter was playing on. Photo: Laura Edie
Cllr Laura Edie was horrified when she saw swastikas drawn on the climbing frame her daughter was playing on. Photo: Laura Edie

“People tend to think that what happened with the Nazis happened ages ago but it’s still so recent and we need to educate people on the power behind the symbol.

“I just found the placement of the graffiti so troubling and got in touch with the police and the council immediately to make sure it was removed.”

Laura said the council had been in touch with her since to say they had removed the symbols.

Cllr Laura Edie has Jewish heritage and had to explain to her daughter the significance behind the symbol. Photo: Laura Edie
Cllr Laura Edie has Jewish heritage and had to explain to her daughter the significance behind the symbol. Photo: Laura Edie

The councillor is continuing to work with the police and the council to have more CCTV in the area.

To improve the park, Laura has managed to get old broken climbing frames replaced and has set up a Neighbourhood Watch group in Newtown to minimise crime in the area.

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