Man sentenced for daubing Cenotaph with anti-Jewish slogans

August 12, 2015 by Keren Cook
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A man has been sentenced in New Zealand for stencilling and painting anti-Jewish slogans and swastikas on the Cenotaph in Hamilton shortly before a service marking International Holocaust Day.

The Cenotaph

The Cenotaph

The offences took place in February in the city’s Memorial Park.

The man who graffitied the site of a Jewish ceremony with Nazi symbols told police he planned to “shock the community”.

Craig David Miller, 45, of Hamilton was sentenced today in the Hamilton District Court to two years intensive supervision and 200 hours of community work. He was also ordered to pay the Hamilton City Council $2000 towards damages.

Miller was well known to the justice system – possessing extensive criminal history and alcoholism, drinking excessively every day.

In May, Miller attended a restorative justice conference, which included Jewish community members. He later apologized for his “insensitive and childish behavior” after the conference.

Defence lawyer Rob Quin said his client accepted his offending was serious and assured him it wouldn’t happen again.

Judge David Wilson told Miller the words and symbols he used were deeply offensive, not only to the Jewish community but to all citizens of Hamilton.

Judge Miller said he would keep a close eye on Miller’s progress by personally monitoring his progress through three-monthly reports. “If that progress causes me concern I’ll have you along to court to speak to me about it,” he said.

Waikato Jewish Association member Sylvie Rabinovitch Bolstad says she is satisfied with the sentence: “I feel that any sentence that requires ongoing accountability and some ongoing consciousness-raising is probably the most constructive sentence there can be.

“You can’t always change what people believe but I suppose you can try to bring them around to understanding how their beliefs can conflagrate, they can light a fire,” says Rabinovitch Bolstad.

The Waikato Jewish Association (WJA) was formally established on 16 March 1996 by a small local group of long-time Jewish residents of Hamilton.

It is a community organisation, which has been continually active since its inception but offers few public events.

Rabinovitch Bolstad admits there is “always residual fear that something will happen”.

Fortunately, council staff managed to clean up the damage before the ceremony the following day, which marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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