DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Governor Roy Cooper is one of 10 governors across the country who have signed a letter urging Congress to fund additional security for houses of worship and communities currently facing additional threats.

This comes at a time when there’s a rise of anti-Semitism across the country.

Renée Fink is at a loss for words.

“I don’t know whether or not I’m more angry or more emotionally distraught,” she said. “Why.. why did we survive? For what? It just doesn’t seem to go away.”

The Holocaust survivor looked through photos with CBS17 crews, taken of anti-Semitic graffiti at a Durham Starbucks over the weekend.

“I see a Star of David with X’s drawn over it,” she explained. “It’s very, very upsetting.”

CBS 17 spoke with Fink and 100-year-old Simon Lewenberg in September.

The two shared their stories of survival while emphasizing the importance of Holocaust education.

The story aired less than three weeks before Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 240 men, women, and children hostage.

“I think anyone who survived the Holocaust, their children and their grandchildren, are reacting to this in a very personal way. It’s like a knife in your heart,” said Fink.

“It’s scary now. It’s very, very scary,” said Gail Lewenberg, Simon’s daughter.

The Anti-Defamation League has reported a 400% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, since the attacks.

“I just feel the pain, you know, really from my eyes all the way to my gut. We do not let him watch TV. He has no idea what’s going on in the world now. Because it would bring back terrible memories for him,” said Lewenberg.

She wants to protect her father from what’s going on in the world.

“I don’t think my dad could have imagined [after the Holocaust] that his daughter, granddaughter, and grandchildren would have to keep it on the down low that they were Jewish,” added Lewenberg.

While she said she’s hesitant and a little wary, she’s proud to be Jewish.

Fink refuses to let hate win.

“Jewish people have been advised not to wear [a Star of David], and we’re told we shouldn’t be obvious and have signs of our Jewishness if we want to be safe. Isn’t that something?” she said. “I will not go back into hiding.”



“Are you scared right now?” asked CBS 17 crews.

“No,” Fink said firmly. “I’ve lived a very long life. I survived the Holocaust. Why should I be afraid now? I’m just angry and I’m sad… Anti-Semitism starts with words. It doesn’t start with concentration camps. It doesn’t start with extreme measures. Nowadays, it starts on social media and with extreme words.”

Durham Police are investigating the vandalism incidents at several businesses. Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers.