west rogers park

Men in West Rogers Park Jumped on School Bus and Yelled Anti-Semitic Slurs

A group of men jumped onto a school bus carrying Jewish grade school children in West Rogers Park Wednesday, yelled anti-Semitic slurs and gave the Hitler salute, according to officials with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Chicago police would not confirm those details but did say a group stood in front of the bus in the 2800 block of Jerome Street, forcing it to stop, then entered and threatened to harm a 12-year-old boy.

The department did not respond when asked about the slurs and Hitler salute and whether the incident was being investigated as a hate crime, even though the Simon Wiesenthal Center said it has been in contact with police.

The bus was transporting Orthodox Jewish boys from an elementary school, according to Alison Pure Slovin, the center’s Midwest director. “It happened so quickly that I don’t think they understood what was happening, just that they were being attacked, that strangers are on your bus screaming at you,” she said.

Slovin noted that the incident “took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom that destroyed almost all synagogues across Germany in 1938. Many members of the Jewish community have family who lived through those horrors.”

Slovin added that the Chicago Commission on Human Relations recently reported that hate crimes targeting Jews are up 75% in Chicago. “But for our community, it is not just statistics but the fear and anger such incidents generate.”

Slovin said she was grateful no one was physically hurt but said “the psychological fallout is of course of concern.”

The center asked anyone with information to call it at 708/714-0749 or contact the police.

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