By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Reports of anti-Semitism are on the rise in the U.S. with hateful comments appearing more frequently online. In Colorado, the number of cases has nearly tripled since 2018. 

What happened to Dana Brown’s family is no less than appalling. The funeral for her mother Sally Gass was held at Babi Yar Park in Denver last July. The park is a memorial to many of those killed by Nazis in World War II. The event was held in person and online through Zoom.

Dana Brown (credit CBS)

“Somebody came onto the screen when people were watching my mother’s funeral and put onto the screen a lot of anti-Semitic words,” Brown recalled. 

A person had barged online calling himself Adolph Eichmann, the World War II Nazi war criminal.

“This was repeated on screen many times with swastikas and SS lightning bolts,” said Brown. 

(credit CBS)

The doors to many Jewish synagogues were closed due to the pandemic. Services moved online, but haters invaded the virtual sanctuaries and sacred ceremonies with horrifying displays of anti-Semitism including the the Nazi swastika symbol.

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Scott Levin, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, says sadly, hate has gone high tech.

“Zoom bombing, of course, occurs when somebody would get into a religious service, a funeral, time of mourning when people would be gathering online,” he explained. 

(credit CBS)

One Colorado family attended a virtual funeral where a swastika appeared on the screen. Someone quickly typed in the chat to “please mute everyone” before the words “Hail Hitlerr” (sic) appeared.

Levin said this incident happened earlier in the pandemic when there were more weaknesses in Zoom security.

“Someone would get the code and get in and disrupt that and in sometimes the most vile way,” he said.

That’s what happened to Dana Brown’s funeral for her mother.

“I would say there’s a lot of ignorance and ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds hate,” Brown said.

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Rick Sallinger