Thirty-two graves in the Jewish cemetery of the South African city of Krugersdorp were desecrated on Sunday, according to community residents.

Ryan Machet, a local resident who has been leading fund-raising efforts to build a wall around the graveyard – which is over a century old – told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that unknown vandals broke the headstones by pushing them over causing them to shatter.

“We reported it to the Jewish board and they are coming out in the next day or two” to inspect the damage, Machet said, referring to the Board of Deputies, the representative body of South African Jewry.

The Jewish community of Krugersdorp, which was established over 120 years ago, once counted over 1,000 Jews as members but “today has dwindled to around 80 people,” he told the Post.

The local Jewish community is in shock, Mark Kopman, vice chairman of the United Hebrew institutions of Krugersdorp, told the Post.

“We haven’t had anything of this extent happening in the history of this community,” he said.

Kopman added that among the damaged graves were one of a young man shot by the British during the Boer war in the early 20th century and the first Jewish grave in the city, which dates from 1894.

While the community plans on doing their best to repair the graves, Kopman mourned that “all that history is lost.”

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