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Someone spray-painted a swastika on a wall outside a Dunlap Street apartment where a Jewish man lives. ‘I can’t convince myself it is a coincidence,’ the victim, Jeff Hornstein, said.

Santa Fe police on Sunday were trying to determine who spray-painted a swastika on a wall outside an apartment where a Jewish man lives.

The victim, Jeff Hornstein, said he and his wife noticed the image outside their Dunlap Street home as they returned from dinner around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Hornstein, 58, said the swastika was not on the wall when they left around 6:30 p.m. that evening. He filed a report with the police department and the Anti-Defamation League.

“At this point, we don’t have any suspects,” Santa Fe police Lt. Sean Strahon said. “We don’t have anything else to go on.”

Asked about the motive behind the crime, he said: “Common sense says that’s not a normal thing to do and there would be underlying issues there.”

But until police find and talk to a suspect, they can’t classify it as a hate crime, Strahon said, so it is being classified as vandalism.

Hornstein said he wants to believe it was a random act of graffiti, but “I can’t convince myself it is a coincidence,” he said.

He said he didn’t plan to immediately remove the swastika.

“It’s important it not get painted over — out of sight, out of mind,” said Hornstein, who teaches English as a second language and works with the immigrant community. “It’s important people understand these things happen.”

The Anti-Defamation League reported 50 hate crimes in New Mexico in 2020.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(24) comments

Jim Klukkert

Many blessings in the coming year, to you, your family and all who know you, Mr. Jeff Hornstein.

Let this mark, albeit despicable, have no more impact than a wandering cur attempting to mark his turf. It is something, but let it be nothing! ¡Shalom!

Prince Michael Jauregui

A happy and most blessed Rosh Hashanah to the Hornsteins - and to ALL!

Be sure, the year 5Seven82 will bring surprising, great Victory and Justice.

Shalom, from The House of David!

Michael Margolis

This is most likely from youngsters, taggers probably wannabee gang members. This use of the symbol as a hate sign as well as antisemitic phrases is common in the street gang world in Santa Fe and it spills over into the schools. I have encountered this several times in my work with elementary and middle school students here. they most likely will not find these perpetrators anymore than they find taggers. I would think the police already know this. ust the most likely scenario anyway. L'Shana Tovah, A blessed Jewish New Year 5782!

Emily Hartigan

Shana Tova to you, Michael - I hope you're right. Kids...

Richard Irell

What should be emphasized is the cowardice of this individual.

Jeff clark

Of course its a hate crime. Vandalism is a crime. Whether it was aimed at one specific Jewish family or at the Jewish community as a whole is irrelevant to whether or not its a hate crime.

Seth Feder

Terrible. this evening is the start of the Jewish new year, so the timing seems to fit antisemitic motives. this is also the symbol of the alt-right and white supremacy, so plenty offensive to the broader community.

Augustin de la Sierra

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hornstein, I am so very sorry.

As Rosh Hashanah begins, I hope the coming year yields humanity and peace that surpasseth.

Moses Townsend

Was it a multi-unit apartment complex? If that’s the case, it’s not entirely impossible it was some random vandals trying to be edgy unaware a Jewish family actually lived there.

Doesn’t make it any less vile, but you can’t rule out coincidence if that is the case. If it’s a single residency and it’s obvious that wall is attached to the Jewish family, then I think coincidence is a lot less likely and a targeted hate crime is hard to deny.

Lupe Molina

Even if Jewish people don't live in the vicinity, its still a hateful thing to do. Even if they didn't know this man lived there, the act was clearly one meant to convey antisemitism

Moses Townsend

No doubt about it. Should be interesting what, if any suspects they find and their specific motives.

Reminds me of the attack on the Indian restaraunt downtown last year, with all of the racist slogans spray painted and destroyed property. I wonder if they ever caught them and who they were and what their motives were.

It’s easy to forget hateful people like that do exist in Santa Fe.

Emily Hartigan

Seriously? One of the most reviled symbols of hatred, on the wall of a Jewish person, and it's not a hate crime? C'mon.

Lupe Molina

Oh come on, SFPD. A swastika is painted on Jewish man's wall but we need to get the suspect to determine if it's a hate crime?! So bogus. Thats like saying you find a victim dead with multiple gunshot wounds but you need to find the guy who did it to determine if its a homicide.

David Ford

It's amazing the power of symbols. The counterclockwise swastika has been a part of Asian religions and countries from India to Japan for over 1500 years and translates as "good fortune" or well-being". Then the N*$# appropriated it with a twist and regardless of the form used it is now an instant symbol of hate and, IMO, stupidity. Sad.

BARRY SILVER

enough of the '' history '' of the that symbol. today, here and worldwide, it represents anti semitism. it communicates hate and reinforces hate. it has for close to 100 years....5 generations.

sheriff, classify it as ''vandalism '' if regulations require that.

but pursue the perpetrators for what ur head and instincts tell u it is.

a menacing call to action against a santa fe citizen, his family and all santa fe jews. act now and persevere.

Maria Bautista

Barry, act now, should we now attack someone, please think of a better way to respond.

Khal Spencer

True enough. I too have seen the counter clockwise version in New Mexico** and as my Punjabi wife says, it has its own meaning in India.

** https://networks.h-net.org/node/9014/discussions/186863/lecture-swastika-new-mexico-culture-and-history-august-2-new

But now the Clown Car is spraying the Reich version. Sigh. I find it sad one of our neighbors has to deal with this B.S.

Maria Bautista

Thanks David, I have very old blankets, the symbol backwards is called the wheel of life. Hate took root in Santa Fe because our mayor could not stand to the young native kids protesting. I believe he panicked when he received a letter of extortion, sad indeed.

Khal Spencer

David, the clockwise version also has a long history.

https://theculturetrip.com/asia/articles/swastika-symbol-india-represent/

Katherine Martinez

My deepest apologies to you and your loved ones Mr. Jeff Hornstein. This behavior has no place in our city.

Lynn k Allen

Young punks or hateful adult, this must be perused. We don't let this pass without shouting it down.

No, not allowed. Not here, not ever.

BARRY SILVER

mr. hornstein's intention to preserve the symbol intact is a strong statement of commitment. we know he will alert the sheriff & the new mexican, and the adl/aclu, if his landlord, or city/state regulations require it to be removed.

Emilia Martinez

[thumbup]

Maria Bautista

Lynn, will D.A. prosecute if person is found?

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