More than 20 of the stones in the Jewish section of the historic Karangahape Road cemetery, which dates back to the 1880’s, were daubed with shocking anti-Semitic graffiti, slogans and Nazi swastika symbols.

“Those are the people who helped found Auckland. Those were founding fathers.” senior rabbi from Auckland’s Hebrew Congregation told the NZ Herald.

“It is incredibly disappointing to think that this sort of thing happens in New Zealand,” said Stephen Goodman of the New Zealand Jewish Council in a statement to NZ Newswire.

“New Zealand is normally quite a tolerant society and quite accepting, and the Jewish presence has been in New Zealand for over 170 years.” Goodman concluded.

Officials in New Zealand have confirmed that they intend to increase security at the cemetery to prevent a repeat of the vandalism.

A statement from Wellington’s Israeli Embassy read “Sixty seven years after the liberation of the Jewish people from the death camps and ghettoes of Europe, expressions of blind hatred for Jews and for the sole Jewish state resurface.”

“This is clearly the action of a handful of vandals, motivated by hatred and ignorance, who certainly do not represent the opinion of New Zealanders. We trust in New Zealand’s law enforcement agencies to find the vandals and bring them to justice.”

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