A stone fountain that is the centerpiece of a memorial to Holocaust survivors at a Santa Rosa cemetery was discovered in pieces on the ground Friday.
Santa Rosa Memorial Park staff discovered the damage around 2:20 p.m. Friday. The fountain column had overturned and crashed into the basin, breaking the structure in two. It was the second time in two years that the fountain had been damaged.
Friday’s damage appears to be another case of vandalism, according to John Morton, the cemetery’s director of family services, and Dennis Judd, who commissioned the fountain in 2016 as a tribute to his late mother, Lillian Judd, and her husband. Emil, who both survived the Holocaust.
Both said that the concrete fountain was solid and secure and wouldn’t fall easily.
“A gust of wind isn’t going to knock that down,” Morton said.
The ritual washing fountain stood at the center of the memorial, which includes a tiled wall naming other family members killed in the Holocaust.
The memorial is near Cemetery Driveway on North Street and is visible and accessible from the road and sidewalk.
People tend to walk the cemetery grounds at all hours of the day, but there are no surveillance cameras focused on the memorial.
Noting that this is the only property damaged, Judd said he suspects the vandalism may have involved a hate crime.
“Hate, anger must be brought under control,” said Judd, who lives in Sevastopol.
Everything seemed fine around 9 a.m. Friday and it’s unclear when the fountain was damaged, Morton said.
Santa Rosa Police were notified and Sgt. Chris Mahurin said it would be investigated as vandalism and officials would consider whether it was a hate crime.
The fountain had been repaired after being vandalized in 2020. No arrests were reported in the case, which was not classified as a hate crime and remained open pending further information.
Mahurin said the 2020 incident was not designated a hate crime because the official also ransacked a maintenance shed and a break room – an indicator that the fountain was not designated.
The 2020 repairs were still marked with blue paint as a reminder of what had happened, and Dennis Judd considered taking similar action after the fountain was repaired, although possibly with different colors.
The community rallied in response to the 2020 vandalism and helped raise thousands of dollars for repairs. Efforts have also been made to promote educational programs and events on hate and the Holocaust.
“I wanted to make it something positive,” Judd said.
He said he hopes a similar response comes this year and the damaged fountain will be left alone for anyone who wants to see it.
Still, he laments that there were many efforts to unite the community in 2020, but the vandalism still took place on Friday.
Any repairs will likely cost more than the last time.
“He’s busted more this time than last time,” Judd said.
You can contact editor Colin Atagi at [email protected]. On Twitter @colin_atagi.