‘Offensive’ display in Wilmette condo building prompts outrage

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WILMETTE, Ill. – An anti-Semitic display in a north suburban condo building has prompted outrage among the community.

A mannequin bearing the Star of David appears in the window of the first-floor condo. Neighbors in the area say they find the display offensive and want it removed. The mannequin’s designer says his work is being misinterpreted.

“I think I’ve been elevated to an artist,” the man said. He did not wish to be identified by WGN.

“I’ve gotten threatening telephone calls,” he added.

The man said he is the longest-standing resident of the 1618 building in Wilmette. He adds that he has been the target of an anti-Semitic campaign. According to the man, his parents and grandparents suffered under the Nazis before and during World War 2.

“To show that I was being persecuted by people in the building who are rabid anti-Semites,” the man said of the display.

His work has drawn criticism from neighbors and the Village of Wilmette. The board discussed the display at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“The Village is disturbed by the offensive imagery and strongly denounces its display,” one board member said.

The Village of Wilmette also issued a statement that read, in part:

“Although highly offensive, this display cannot be regulated or removed by the village because we do not like the message. This individual is entitled to their first amendment rights under the United States Constitution. We cannot disagree strongly enough with this individual’s actions.”

An area resident, who also did not wish to be identified, says the man is going about his message the wrong way.

“I just feel it’s so offensive and it’s not the right message for fighting his cause,” the resident said. “I think it’s offensive to all Jewish people. It’s embarrassing.”

The man told WGN the mannequin has been on display for three years, but only recently has it received renewed criticism. He remains adamant, however, that he will not be taking the display down, citing principle.

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