SURFSIDE – The Orthodox Jewish mayor of Surfside and his family remain under police protection after being targeted by a death threat containing a Nazi reference.
Mayor Shlomo Danzinger received an email on the afternoon of August 4th from an individual who identified himself as being affiliated with the Fourth Reich, a reference to a potential resurrection of a Nazi party, with the unknown sender suggesting the possibility of coming to Danzinger’s house to “teach his family a lesson.”
“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, who was still at Town Hall when the email arrived, forwarded it immediately to the town attorney and police chief, who categorized it as a credible threat.
The email was escalated to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the State Attorney’s office.
Arriving back to his Surfside home, Danzinger discussed the issue with his wife and his children, ages 20, 15, 14 and nine, doing his best to convey the seriousness of the matter without throwing the family into panic mode.
“I told them that they weren’t leaving the house unless someone comes with them and that if they see flashlights around the neighborhood, it is people who are protecting us, just as a precaution,” said Danzinger.
Danzinger and his family spent both Shabbos and Sunday sequestered in their home. He turned down an offer from his 21 year old son, who is currently serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, to come back to Florida in order to keep the family safe.
Noting that the threat is both anti-Semitic in nature, as well as an attack on elected official, Danzinger said that there is a heavy police presence around his home and that he fully intends to prosecute the person who sent the threat.
Identifying that individual may be difficult with the email sent via a server in Switzerland that masks the actual IP address, necessitating the involvement of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which has so far declined to step in.
The threatening email was sent to Danzinger just two days after he became embroiled in a controversy that erupted at a town commission when Commissioner Nelly Vasquez interrupted the mayor repeatedly as he presented a proposal.
After asking Vasquez multiple times to stop the intrusions, Danzinger inquired if a Spanish speaker in the room could translate his request to the commissioner, a comment that had him branded as a racist and lambasted by the media.
He was later quoted as saying that his remark was made out of frustration and was not intended to be hurtful.
Danzinger described the ongoing pattern of disruptions at town meetings as a concerted effort by his opponents to discredit him in advance of the March 2024 mayoral election.
“The people running have no platform and no vision for the town, they are just saying ‘that guy is bad,’” observed Danzinger.