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Swastika found painted with lighter fluid in front of Concord human rights foundation

A swastika is stained onto the parking lot in front of 6 Dixon Ave in Concord.

GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

A swastika is stained onto the parking lot in front of 6 Dixon Ave in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

A large swastika apparently painted with lighter fluid was found yesterday afternoon in the parking lot outside the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Social Justice in downtown Concord.

The foundation’s president, Katrina Lantos Swett, said a building manager reported seeing someone painting the Nazi symbol, but when approached, the person ran off. Swett didn’t know exactly when the incident took place, but she said it was brought to the foundation’s attention between 3 and 4 p.m.

The nonprofit, a vocal opponent of anti-Semitism, is one of multiple occupants in the building at 6 Dixon Ave., near the corner of North Main and Pleasant streets.

Concord police officials said they were too busy to comment on the incident. Swett said she was told they had taken pictures of the scene and had impounded the cans of lighter fluid in hopes of extracting prints. The swastika was roughly 6 feet by 6 feet.

“We don’t know if this was just a random thing or might have had anything to do with our presence in the building,” Swett said, adding, “Obviously we’re a bit concerned.”

The foundation moved into the space in December. It had previously operated out of a space at 19 Pleasant St.

Swett said employees had not immediately noticed the graffiti because they park in a different lot. The sign had not been completely erased as of 5 p.m., she said, but lighter fluid evaporates eventually.

Swett established the foundation in 2008 in honor of her late father, Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress. The group has a broad advocacy record, but has focused recently on combating resurging anti-Semitism in Europe, Swett said. A year ago, it co-sponsored a talk at the University of New Hampshire School of Law about the efforts of a Swedish diplomat credited with saving 100,000 Hungarian Jews.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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