Nazi Party in NZ on First Night Rosh Hashana

September 21, 2009 by J-Wire
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As Christchurch’s small Jewish community settled in for Rosh Hashana/Shabbat dinner on Friday night, Lincoln University students were holding a party on the campus replicating Nazi Germany.

Although the party was private and not under the auspices of the University, distressed students anonymously informed the local Press about the Oktoberfest Party.

The reports painted a picture of students wearing Nazi apparel while others dressed as concentration camp prisoners. The students saluted Hitler and mwere reported to have been making “tasteless jokes” about the Holocaust.

J-Wire has suggested to both the University and the New Zealand Jewish community that the students concerned may benefit from a visit to a Holocaust museum, the closest one being in Wellington…a 45 minute air journey.

The Holocaust is not part of the New Zealand education syllabus and a spokesman for the University told J-Wire that perhaps something beneficial may emerge from this. He said: “Students do not have an appreciation or an understanding of the Holocaust.”

David Zwartz who heads the Wellington Jewish Community was enthusiastic about the suggestion to have students visit the Wellington Holocaust Research and Education Centre.

Stephen Goodman, president of the Jewish Council in New Zealand told J-Wire: “We will recommend that the university provides education to those involved rather than censure them…this is all down to ignorance. If the public does not learn, then history will be doomed to repeat itself.”

The small Jewish community in Christchurch has not experienced any racist attacks in recent times although J-Wire understands the National Front is quite active in the area. There have been reports of assaults on Ethiopians.

Local Chabad leader Rabbi Mendel Goldstein told J-Wire that the community was only about 90 strong. He added: “However, between Succoth and Pesach, we will have about 20,000 Israeli backpackers through our doors. Out of season we are lucky to get a Minyan but other times we have more than 100 in our little Shule.”

Rabbi Goldstein agreed that there was virtually no education program in New Zealand dealing with Judaism or the Holocaust.

The Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University is investigating the report and is expected to make an announcement later today.

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