Elizabeth Midlarsky is a professor at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. On Wednesday afternoon Midlarsky, who is Jewish, discovered anti-Semitic graffiti all over her office. The NYPD is investigating the incident.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Midlarsky Found Swastikas Scrawled on the Walls Outside Her Office
Midlarsky discovered the graffiti when she went to her office at 1PM on Wednesday. She found large red swastikas scrawled on the walls just outside of her office. She also found the word “yid” written on her wall. (“Yid” is a derogatory term used to insult Jewish people.)
Midlarsky called campus security, which, she said, arrived within half an hour. A spokesperson for Teachers College later told Gothamist, “The matter is now under investigation by the NYPD, to whom we reported the incident immediately upon discovery. All further questions should be directed to the NYPD at this time.”
2. Midlarsky’s Office Was Vandalized Once Before & She Wasn’t Surprised
Back in 2007, Midlarsky found a swastika painted on her office at Teacher’s College. Around the same time, she received a couple of anti-semitic fliers in the mail. Midlarsky said at the time that she “felt awful” but wasn’t surprised by the incidents; she added that it was coming at a time when she was becoming “more open” about her work researching the Holocaust. Midlarsky implied that this had left her vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks.
At the time, the NYPD said they were investigating the incident as a hate crime.
3. Midlarsky Is a Psychologist Who Specializes in Holocaust Studies
Midlarsky is a professor of psychology and education whose research interests include altruism, religiousness, and the Holocaust. Midlarsky lists her research interests as “altruism and religiousness through the lifespan; rescue during the Holocaust and responses by survivors and their progeny; aging and gender issues; development and consequences of altruism, violence, and religious faith.”
Her publications include “Personality correlates of heroic rescue during the Holocaust.”
4. Midlarsky Is an Organ Donor Recipient Who Struggles With Her Health
Midlarsky told Gothamist that when she saw the swastikas just outside her office, she fell into a “state of shock.” She also said that she struggles with her health and that she is an organ donor recipient.
Midlarsky has been the victim of anti-Semitic attacks before. Back in 2007, she found a swastika in her office and was sent anti-Semitic fliers in the mail. In today’s incident, she found large red swastikas outside her office and the word “yid” scrawled on her wall. Midlarsky is Jewish, and some of her research focuses on the Holocaust. She is a psychologist.
5. Midlarsky Earned Her BA from Brooklyn College
Midlarsky, a professor of psychology and education, holds a PhD from Northwestern University. She has a BA from Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York.
Midlarsky’s students have widely divergent views of her as a teacher. On RateMyProfessor, some called her “scatterbrained” and complained that she talks too much; others praised her as empathetic and patient.