Neo-Nazi charged over antisemitic graffiti in library bathrooms

A former Young Liberal member turned neo-Nazi has been charged after he allegedly damaged a public library in Melbourne’s north with antisemitic graffiti.

Stefan Eracleous was charged with criminal damage after public toilets inside Mill Park Library on Plenty Road were allegedly graffitied with antisemitic slurs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stefan Eracleous has been charged with criminal damage

Stefan Eracleous has been charged with criminal damage

Victoria Police confirmed in a statement that officers attended the library on Wednesday and arrested a man who was later charged with criminal damage and wilful damage.

Eracleous, 30, from Mernda, was bailed to appear at Heidelberg Magistrates Court on March 19.

Jane Cowell, chief executive of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library which runs Mill Park Library, said it worked to ensure community members were not faced with racial vilification through graffiti.

“We thank the police for their prompt response and support throughout this issue which saw the library targeted over a number of days,” she said.

“We serve a broad and diverse community, and our staff are representative of the local community. Our staff have responded to these incidents in a proactive way and should be commended for their continuous work in keeping our public library facilities safe for everyone.”

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald last year identified Eracleous as a former young Liberal member turned neo-Nazi figure who was responsible for a video published in January 2022 depicting three masked neo-Nazis burning an Aboriginal flag, reciting a white supremacist manifesto and targeting Greens senator Lidia Thorpe.

Eracleous’ home was searched by police earlier this year, and he was charged by the Australian Federal Police with using a carriage service to offend. He will next face court on this charge in November in Melbourne.

The ABC reported last week that Eracleous was likely one of the architects behind another offensive video targeting Senator Thorpe and an ongoing harassment campaign targeting the Indigenous politician that intensified in the lead up to the referendum on the Indigenous Voice to parliament.

Eracleous, a member of far-right neo-Nazi group National Socialist Network, was in 2014 outed by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald as one of a small group of Young Liberals posting highly offensive sexist and homophobic material.

He left mainstream politics and disappeared from public view, spending the next few years mixing in Melbourne’s neo-Nazi scene. In 2019, Eracleous was charged with using a carriage service to offend, but he avoided a criminal conviction in July 2020 by admitting to his offending as part of a program aimed at redirecting first-time offenders away from the criminal justice system.

After the Christchurch terror attack in March 2019, Eracleous began posting the number “51” in his messages as a nod to other neo-Nazis signalling his support of the attack, which left 51 people dead.

The alleged antisemitic graffiti attack at the library came days after a group of about 25 people dressed in black marched through a busy Melbourne train and performed the Nazi salute hours before voting opened for the referendum on the Indigenous Voice to parliament.

Stefan Eracleous on the campaign trail with former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2013.

Stefan Eracleous on the campaign trail with former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2013.

Premier Jacinta Allan condemned the group’s “hateful and cowardly behaviour” and said it was particularly abhorrent at a time when Jewish and Israeli communities were hurting and grieving over the conflict in Gaza.

Police assessed the circumstances of the demonstration but said no offences were detected.

By the end of this week, the public display of Nazi salute will be banned under legislation introduced this week in the Victorian parliament. Anyone who intentionally displays or performs a Nazi symbol or gestures in public will face penalties of more than $23,000 and jail time.

The nation’s intelligence boss this week warned that Australia is on high alert for signs of neo-Nazis using the escalating conflict in the Israel-Hamas war for recruitment drives and potential violence.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general of security Mike Burgess outlined heightened threats to the nation’s safety both from extremists activated by war in the Middle East and Chinese and Russian state actors seeking an edge in the battle for global supremacy.

While Burgess said he did not at this stage see evidence of extremists planning violence as a result of the war, the threat level in Australia meant it was “possible”.

“We know the neo-Nazis would be looking at this. They have it well planned as part of their awful ideology and they do not like Jewish people – and you know where that goes – so you see them firing up,” he said.

This masthead was unable to reach Eracleous for comment.

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