New Zealand Graveyard Vandals Appear in Court

Accused in Anti-Semitic Attack on 19th Century Cemetery

By JTA

Published October 23, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Three men appeared in court in New Zealand and were charged with damaging more than 20 Jewish gravestones in an historic cemetery last week.

The men, aged between 19 and 23, were charged with willful damage of the graves in Auckland, some of which date back to the 1880s.

The vandalism included spray painting swastikas and the number 88 – code for “Heil Hitler,” as well as graffiti including “F*** Israel.” It carries a maximum penalty of seven years.

The three men were ordered to reappear in Auckland District Court next month and received bail on condition they do not associate with each other and do not visit any Jewish cemetery, synagogue or school.

One of them, Nathan Symington, accused police of a “witch-hunt” and said although he was a “small-time criminal” he was no racist and he’d fight the charge “to the bitter end.”

The names of the other two were suppressed by the court.

The attack drew a chorus of condemnation from Jewish officials, Israel’s ambassador, inter-faith leaders and New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, whose mother escaped Nazism by fleeing Vienna, Austria on the eve of the Holocaust.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.