A fountain for ritual hand-washing, part of a Holocaust memorial at Santa Rosa Memorial Park cemetery, was vandalized for the second time in two years. (Photo/Dennis Judd)
A fountain for ritual hand-washing, part of a Holocaust memorial at Santa Rosa Memorial Park cemetery, was vandalized for the second time in two years. (Photo/Dennis Judd)

Funds pour in to repair toppled Holocaust memorial in Santa Rosa

Reacting to the vandalism of a Holocaust memorial in Santa Rosa last week, more than 310 people have donated to a Sonoma County man’s GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $26,700 in just three days.

Dennis Judd, 66, set a $35,000 goal for the fundraising effort, which he titled “Repairing Holocaust Memorial Fountain, Once Again.” On Thursday, he said was still deciding what to do with the funds that will be left over after he pays to repair the heavily damaged fountain and purchases a surveillance system.

“I’m open to suggestions,” said Judd, who estimated that it cost between $2,000 and $3,000 to fix the fountain after it was vandalized and broken in 2020.

Judd, the son of two Holocaust survivors, in recent years helped his parents write their memoirs. His mother, the late Lillian Judd, was a strong proponent of educating children and adults both about the pernicious effects of hate and anger, and about the horrors of the Holocaust.

The fountain, meant for ritual hand-washing, is backgrounded by a colorful mosaic commemorating the victims of Nazi genocide. Judd, who works in real estate and publishing,  commissioned the project in 2016, the year his mother died at age 92. The memorial is located at Santa Rosa Memorial Park cemetery.

In June 2020, the fountain was toppled and smashed by a vandal who also ransacked two other structures on the cemetery grounds, police said. This year’s vandalism occurred on Jan. 7, according to an employee of the cemetery.

A spokesperson for the Santa Rosa Police Department told J. on Thursday that law enforcement had no leads or suspects in either case.

After the 2020 incident, Judd launched a GoFundMe page that raised about $13,000, he said. The excess funds, he added, were donated to the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide at Sonoma State University and The Story Project, which teaches moral and ethical responses to prejudice and hatred through personal stories of the Holocaust and other genocides.

Judd said he aims to distribute the funds transparently and is looking to form a nonprofit to help accomplish that, on the advice of his local JCC.

“I want to turn something that was very negative, very disgusting, into something that is very positive and uniting for the community,” he said.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.