Three masked men carrying Nazi flags tried to ruin a Hanukkah ceremony in Fairfield on Sunday, but nothing was going to dampen the holiday spirits of the faithful who gathered.
The three men stayed about 20 yards from the Sherman Green gazebo and shouted obscenities.
Rabbi Shlame Landa, who organized the ceremony for Chabad of Fairfield, told the Connecticut Post that the celebrators battled darkness by not backing down from spreading goodness and light during the festival of lights.
"(My) initial reaction was one of shock, surprise that was something that would happen in Fairfield, but I think it quickly turned to pride," Landa, of Chabad of Fairfield, said.
Several people who just happened to be passing by started yelling at the masked men and waving at the menorah lighters, the Connecticut Post reports.
Fairfield First Selectman Kenneth Flatto says he and others ignored the men while lighting a menorah on the third night of Hanukkah. He called police and the masked men ran when police arrived.
On Monday, officials from the Connecticut Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League said the perpetrators’ exploitation of the swastika and iron cross suggest some involvement with or knowledge of white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology.
“ADL condemns this cowardly demonstration of hate, which invoked symbols hearkening back to Hitler and the Holocaust, intentionally designed to threaten and scare the Jewish community of Fairfield,” David Waren, ADL’s Connecticut Regional Director, said in a statement.
Police followed the car, but it's unclear whether they caught the men.
Waren said the protest does not reflect upon the Town of Fairfield and that bigoted acts can happen anywhere.
”The measure of a community is not whether incidents occur but how a community responds,” he said. “In Fairfield, the vocal condemnation and concern expressed by law enforcement, community leaders and the community at large demonstrate that Fairfield will not accept hatred or bigotry in this community.”
Police are investigating whether any laws were broken. They're also working with the ADL to make sure what happened in Fairfield isn't part of a bigger problem.