Several hundred people attended a rally at Virginia Tech Monday afternoon to show support for local Jewish community members after leaflets depicting swastikas were left on the lawn of the Chabad Librescu Jewish Student Center Saturday.
Rabbi Zvi Zweibel said he found approximately 100 fliers at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, a day after the Center announced it would host Holocaust survivor Rabbi Nissen Mangel at Virginia Tech on April 24.
Mangel was invited to participate in an event that will commemorate Virginia Tech professor Liviu Librescu—also a Holocaust survivor—who was killed during the April 17, 2007 attack while blocking the gunman from entering his classroom, allowing enough time for all but one of his students to safely escape.
While Zweibel said he was stunned by Saturday’s act, he also said it was important to not respond from a place of anger.
“The way to combat darkness is with light,” Zweibel told rally attendees.
Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands also spoke and encouraged the crowd to speak up when they see injustice.
“Over and above laws, there’s a sense of community and the responsibilities of being a member of that community,” Sands said.
Virginia Tech Police Chief Kevin Foust condemned the act at the rally, calling it “heinous” and said it was an affront to the entire community.
“When you dump ignorant trash on a lawn up the street, you’re dumping it on my lawn,” Foust said.
Foust said there is an ongoing investigation into the incident.