Nazi symbol mars Omaha war memorial

Published: Jul. 23, 2018 at 7:50 AM CDT
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More Nazi propaganda showed up in Omaha over the weekend.

A giant swastika was burned into the lawn at Memorial Park, just a week after Nazi books were displayed in little libraries across the city.

"It's the 21st Century. Why are we still dealing with this?" said Dylan Castro.

Castro came across the vandalism while visiting the park.

"It's s--- like this that makes me look over my shoulder when I'm walking around, even in the daytime," said Castro.

The Nazi regime symbol was burned into the Memorial Park lawn, a place that honors American soldiers who fought against Nazi Germany in World War II.

"It's hard to feel like we're a community when this keeps happening," said Castro.

Park maintenance tilled the defamed patch of grass and Omaha citizens decorated the spot with American flags and flowers.

Castro works with youth in the community.

"I think first and foremost about the students and the kids that I've worked with, and this s--- scary," said Castro.

He said he believes discussion about hate speech needs to start in the classroom.

"We have to have those hard conversations in schools that a lot of folks don't want to have," said Castro. "When stuff like this happens, some people are outraged, usually the people affected by it, and then it goes away. I don't want that outrage to go away."

He believes that if we don't have these conversations, the Omaha community will tear at the seams.

"You know, this probably started based on saying racial slurs, or whatever, and then it became an action. A microaggression becomes an action, becomes a bigger action, becomes an example of hate speech. We have to stop it at the very beginning, because, if we don't, this stuff is just going to keep on happening," said Castro.

Omaha Parks Director, Brook Bench, said they'll reseed the patch of grass Monday morning.

The Plain States Region of the Anti-Defamation League said it is working with Omaha police to suppress hate speech.