Buffalo, NY – At first, Howard Cadmus said, he wasn’t sure he wanted to publicly reveal that someone had carved a swastika inside Sweet Jenny’s in Williamsville.
But Cadmus said he and his wife, Tara, decided staying quiet about the symbol of hate felt like condoning the act of vandalism.
He said he has appreciated the outpouring of support in response to his Facebook post and news interviews since the weekend incident. Many commenters said they made donations to charitable organizations to offset the symbol made infamous by Nazi Germany.
While some suggested sanding down the emblem, Howard Cadmus, who is Jewish, used a blade to turn the swastika into a square containing the letters “L-O-V-E.”
“In a community where people are so caring it shows that, I think, love is stronger than the hate,” Cadmus said in an interview Wednesday.
Howard Cadmus said an employee made the initial discovery at 10 a.m. Monday, as the ice cream and chocolate shop in the historic Williamsville Water Mill complex was opening for the day. The Cadmuses co-own the store and related businesses along Ellicott Creek.
The swastika, about the size of a John F. Kennedy half-dollar coin, was carved into the wood above the doorway inside a first-floor restroom.
Howard Cadmus said the vandalism likely took place sometime Sunday.
Kassidy, the employee who first saw the symbol, is transgender and initially was distraught that it might have targeted her, Howard Cadmus said.
There was no message accompanying the symbol, but Cadmus said carving it seems like a more deliberate act than, for example, writing it in pen.
Cadmus and his wife are Jewish but it’s not clear whether the vandal knew this. Cadmus said he has ancestors, through his mother’s family, who survived the Holocaust.