Home defaced with Nazi emblems

By Andrew Koubaridis

Police looking at possible link to desecration of Jewish graves.

The symbols painted on Steve Saussey's home were similar to those on the Jewish headstones in Grafton Cemetery. Photo / Steven McNicholl
The symbols painted on Steve Saussey's home were similar to those on the Jewish headstones in Grafton Cemetery. Photo / Steven McNicholl

A Grey Lynn property has become the latest target of anti-Semitic slurs in Auckland. The home, under renovation, was defaced with Nazi emblems the same day Jewish headstones in a central-city graveyard were desecrated.

Auckland City police arrested two men in relation to the cemetery vandalism overnight on Thursday and are investigating whether there are any links to the damage done to the Grey Lynn home.

The attack stunned owner Steve Saussey, who is preparing to move in in just a few weeks.

He said he didn't know why his home was targeted, but was suspicious as the vandalism came so close to the Grafton Cemetery incident - and the insults were similar.

"The builder actually got a call because a neighbour had seen all these swastikas and 'sieg heils' painted on the inside so he got the word first."

He wondered if the same group could be involved at the cemetery because of the timing and because "88" ("Heil Hitler" - H is the 8th letter of the alphabet) was also sprayed on the house, just as on the headstones.

More than 20 graves, all at least 125 years old, were vandalised with large swastikas and "f*** Israel" and "don't f*** with us" scrawled on them.

The Israeli Embassy condemned the attack as "vile desecration".

Mr Saussey didn't know why his house would be singled out for attention. "I don't know. It could be a random thing. We're not Jewish or anything."

He said the damage to the graves was "bloody horrible - some people are just stupid."

Mr Saussey believed the vandals got into his home by levering open a window.

Once inside, they did their best to to conceal what they were doing.

"There's been a weird attempt to paint the windows out the front so no one would see what's going on."

As well as painting the slogans on walls and windows, the intruders splashed paint around the house and kicked in the walls.

Mr Saussey is hopeful the culprits will be caught. "They've left a really good handprint on the window. The police are very interested because of the cemetery thing and have been in fingerprinting."

As well as possible prints, part of a car stereo and a knife were left in the house.

The anti-Semitic messages were still on the property yesterday and Mr Saussey said they would remain until insurance assessors had been in to look at the damage.

Meanwhile, two young men, aged 23 and 19, will appear in court this week charged with wilful damage of the graves.

Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said investigations were continuing. She could not rule out further arrests.

- NZ Herald

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