(New York Jewish Week) — While waiting for the L train at Union Square one Sunday earlier this month, a commuter named Liz spotted something — or rather someone — whose doings had bedeviled her and a few other New Yorkers for more than a year: A white man, wearing a leather jacket and a black hoodie, scrawling a neo-Nazi slogan in black marker on a support beam.
Liz snapped the man’s photo but he quickly ran away. Since then, she and other activists in the city have been searching for the man, whom they have dubbed “The L Train Nazi.” His graffiti of choice appears to be the number “1488,” a neo-Nazi code recognized as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.
“I actually saw someone doodling on the support column,” Liz told the New York Jewish Week. “Sure enough, he was writing ‘1488.’ I was like, ‘get some pictures.’ He looked at me and tried to ignore it [me] and act like nothing happened.”
Liz, like some other activists who spoke to the New York Jewish Week for this article, declined to give her full name or divulge many details about herself, for fear of being harmed by the same white supremacists she has spent the past few years trying to expose. As an anti-far-right activist, Liz said she has attended multiple far-right and neo-Nazi events in cities across the northeast. At these events, she said she has physically confronted rally-goers and has been arrested two times.
BREAKING: ‘L Train Nazi’ Caught in the Act
For years, people have been reporting typographically similar ‘1488’ tags (a Nazi slogan: https://t.co/mlPBKKSDWW) in the subway, most often along the L line.
As a result, the tagger was dubbed ‘the L train Nazi.’ pic.twitter.com/ssNnYaTzDC
— Talia Jane (@taliaotg) February 8, 2023
The recent encounter on the L train platform, Liz said, didn’t escalate into violence. “He didn’t want to get an assault charge, and I didn’t want to get an assault charge,” she said. “He stormed off and I forwarded the pictures.”
The number 1488, in neo-Nazi speak, stands for two separate things: The 14 stands for a 14-word white supremacist creed — “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” — and 88 stands for “Heil Hitler,” as “h” is the eighth letter of the alphabet.
Beginning in November 2021, other Twitter users had taken photos of similar graffiti at subway stations on the L and M lines in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. This isn’t the first time hate symbols have plagued the L train: two trains were removed from the line in 2019 after MTA officials discovered anti-Nazi stickers (which nonetheless partially displayed swastikas) on the train.
Talia Jane, a Brooklyn-based freelance reporter of Jewish descent, collated some of the photos into a Twitter thread following Liz’s interactions. The tweets have been shared 1,300 times in the week since she posted them. The photos of the suspected “L Train Nazi” have been viewed nearly 800,000 times.
“People began to notice similar tags of a similar marker and similar handwriting style,” Jane told the New York Jewish Week. “It became assumed that there was one person behind these recurring tags.”
When asked by this reporter about the graffiti, the New York Police Department said “there is nothing on file” about these markings.
MTA spokesperson Kayla Shults told the New York Jewish Week in an emailed statement that “there is no place for acts of hate of any kind, including anti-Semitic vandalism, in the subway system.”
“When observed, offensive materials are rapidly removed,” Shults said. “The MTA continues to be at the forefront of public service campaigns that promote respect and tolerance for all riders.”
Efforts to find the person behind the graffiti have been coalescing offline as well. Elsa Waithe, 34, a comedian from East New York, first spotted the “1488” graffiti in November 2021 at the L train Livonia stop. Waithe covered it with a sticker, but kept seeing similar graffiti nearby. Now, Waithe is putting up flyers at stations across the L line that say “#SubwayNazi” and display the man’s face.
“Be on the lookout,” the flyer reads. “This man was recently caught writing Nazi tags in NYC subways.”
“I personally plan to put these posters up every weekend, at least for a month or two, just so he knows that people know him now,” Waithe told the New York Jewish Week. “My friend asked me what I was doing. I said, ‘Essentially, Nazi-hunting.’”
Waithe said they made it their “mission” to always cover up the “1488” tags with a sticker, but noticed that others began posting pictures of the tag at stations approaching Manhattan — including Myrtle-Wycoff, Grand Street and eventually Union Square.
Just left the Livonia L trains station and it looks like the same asshole from before has left another 1488 on the stairs. I’ll return after work to cover it up but if someone can get to it before me that would be nice. It’s on the Manhattan bound side. pic.twitter.com/bCpWBJTxnE
— Harriet Thugman (@elsajustelsa) November 15, 2021
“He was putting them in very obvious places,” Waithe said. “Livonia is right next to public housing. This is a Black neighborhood. It pissed me off that someone would threaten the community. That’s what this is, a threat.”
Waithe feels that coded numbers such as 1488 and 1352, a racist anti-Black slogan, allow the perpetrator to hide Nazi messaging in plain sight.
“If he had put a swastika, we all know what that is,” Waithe said. “This is just a coded swastika. It’s the same exact thing, it’s just not as widely known, so he can put it and be discreet, or say it means something else. There is some plausible deniability.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, New York State ranked seventh nationally in the number of white supremacist propaganda incidents in 2021.
“No one wants a Nazi in their neighborhood,” Waithe said. “We all ride this train, we all live in this city. Is there a network [of activists]? No. It’s just concerned citizens.”
Sophie Ellman-Golan, spokesperson for the Jewish progressive group Jews For Racial and Economic Justice, commended the efforts of the people who are keeping “tabs on the subway Nazi.”
“This particular Nazi has spent years trying to make Jews, Black people and all marginalized groups feel uncomfortable and unwelcome on the subway,” Ellman-Golan told the New York Jewish Week. “But it’s Nazis who should feel uncomfortable and unwelcome — on the subway and in our city and state.”
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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