Shlomo Danzinger the mayor of Surfside, Florida, received an email threatening his family in their home signed by someone claiming to belong to the Fourth Reich on August 4, according to local media.
The email referenced various vague Nazi elements such as resurrecting the Nazi Party, but also specifically targeted Danzinger with the possibility of coming to his house to “teach his family a lesson,” reported VIN News.
Authorities saw the threat as credible, with the email being passed along to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and then further escalated to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force as well as the State Attorney's office.
“Essentially, the email said that perhaps it would be appropriate for the writer to come by my house and teach my family a lesson,” Danzinger told VIN News.
Danzinger was elected in 2022 as Surfside's first Orthodox Jewish mayor, a city in which half of the residents are Jewish with 34% of Jews being Orthodox.
Danzinger, his wife, and their four children aged between 9 and 20 have been told to remain at home and under round-the-clock police protection, according to Local10. The couple's 21-year-old son offered to return home and protect the family, as he is currently serving in the IDF, but the family declined the offer.
Shabbat under police protection
Danzinger and his family spent both last Saturday, August 5th and Sunday, August 6th in their house under police protection at the request of the police.
Danzinger highlighted that the letter is both antisemitic and an attack on an elected official. He also clarified that he intends to take legal action against the person that sent the threat.
The mayor received the email two days after becoming entangled in a controversy in which he was labeled a racist by local media. The controversy involved Commissioner Nelly Vasquez continually interrupting the mayor while he presented a proposal.
After asking Vasquez to stop multiple times, the mayor asked if any Spanish speaker in the room could translate the request for the commissioner. He later said that the remark was made out of frustration and not intended to be hurtful, according to VIN News.
“Antisemitism is at historic levels not only in the halls of Congress and on social media, but on the streets of South Florida that I and hundreds of thousands of Jewish Americans call home,” Bryan Leib, executive director of CASEPAC, told JNS.
“No Jewish public official should have to be put into police protection because they are an outspoken Jew,” Leib told JNS. “But that is exactly what is happening right now in Surfside. Antisemitism has no place in Florida.”