Jewish gravestones desecrated in New Zealand

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Three headstones were vandalized in the Jewish section of a cemetery in Dunedin, New Zealand.

A swastika was painted on one headstone and two others were broken, the Otago Daily Times reported. The vandalism was reported to police on Saturday.

“I would prefer to think that it wasn’t [a racially motivated attack], and that it was just a childish act … but it is a fairly nasty incident,” police constable Greg Marsden told the newspaper.

Dunedin is the second largest city on the South Island of New Zealand with a population of over 124,000.

On Sunday, several hundred gravestones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in northeastern France and swastikas were drawn on the entrance to a Jewish cemetery in Oldenburg, Germany.

“We find this type of vandalism not only to be ignorant and stupid, but also state that the underlying menace behind it is disturbing and worrying,” said Andrew Spiegel, a member of the Dunedin Jewish Congregation.