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Angry French tourist may have a point, as historians say vandalism was also illegal in Nazi Germany

Cedric Claude Rene Rault-Verpre says New Zealand is a painful reminder of when Hitler forced his ancestors to repair signs they had vandalised.

Cedric Claude Rene Rault-Verpre says New Zealand is a painful reminder of when Hitler forced his ancestors to repair signs they had vandalised.

An angered French tourist who is being forced to pay $3,000 to repair a sign he vandalised in Punakaiki, is referring to New Zealand as “Nazi Zealand,” saying that the actions of the Greymouth District Court remind him of the oppression faced by his ancestors under the rule of Adolf Hitler.

After the German takeover of France in 1940, Hitler infamously forced hundreds of French nationals to repair damage they’d done to local corner signs through reckless behaviour.

They were often asked to pay hundreds of francs, and sometimes even cruelly made to pick up the signs they’d knocked over themselves.

Cedric Claude Rene Rault-Verpre, 27, who police believe has too many names for them all to be legitimate, was arrested after allegedly throwing large rocks at a road sign and abusing locals and other tourists.

Historian Harold Sinclair believes there are some parallels between Rault-Vepre and the Jewish people of Europe, up to six million of whom were fined the equivalent of three thousand New Zealand dollars.

“He’s certainly not without a point,” said Sinclair. “History often repeats itself. There are memorials all around the world to the mass finings of the Jewish people in World War II, and I think we’d ought to ask ourselves here in New Zealand whether, in some small way, at least, we’re making those same mistakes.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council says it’s aware of the incident, and is investigating.