Holocaust Memorial Exhibition launches in New Zealand

November 13, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Children’s Holocaust Memorial will be officially launched at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington on  Thursday.

The Memorial honours the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust (including children related to New Zealand’s own Holocaust survivors and refugees).

The Memorial is the first of its kind in the world, taking the simple everyday button as an icon – chosen by the then Principal of the Moriah Jewish Day School in Wellington in an effort to communicate to her students the enormity of the number of children killed. Over 1 million buttons have been collected from around New Zealand and internationally to symbolise the 1.5 million innocent lives lost.

The majority of the buttons will be contained in a truly unique design and installation by Matthijs Siljee of Massey University’s School of Design. Other key elements of the Memorial include an interactive educational section – especially relevant for schoolchildren – and a reflective reading space with a selection of books from the National Library’s substantial Holocaust collection.

“The Children’s Holocaust Memorial represents the culmination of many years work, especially the passion and dedication of a number of our Holocaust Survivors. The enduring lesson of the Holocaust for New Zealanders is a preparedness to stand up to discrimination and prejudice and the violation of human rights…in essence, to be an upstander, not a bystander” says Jeremy Smith, Chair of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.

“We’re honoured to host the Children’s Holocaust Memorial at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. This powerful and moving memorial reinforces the importance of reading to build a better understanding of our history,” says Bill Macnaught National Librarian.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a programme of public events including social justice-themed panel discussions and presentations will be held at the National Library of New Zealand during the Memorial’s residency.

Children’s Holocaust Memorial – Social Justice SpeakersProgramme


Forum 1:                The Refugee Experience in New Zealand: Two Unique Perspectives

5 December, 2018.


Moderator:         Tracey Barnett, Journalist & Former Executive Member

Refugee Council of New Zealand

Speakers               Ibrahim Omer, Chair – Changemakers Refugee Forum

Inge Wolf, Co-Founder – Holocaust Centre of New Zealand


Forum 2:                Challenging Discrimination & Prejudice in Aotearoa: What It Means to Stand Up

 20 February, 2019.


Moderator:         Dianne Davis, Deputy Chair – Holocaust Centre of New Zealand

Panellists:           Peter Fa’afiu, Chair – Amnesty International New Zealand

Louisa Wall, Member of Parliament for Manurewa

Deborah Hart, Panel Member – Human Rights Review Tribunal;

Executive Director – Arbitrators & Mediators Institute of NZ


Forum 3:                Disability Rights: Historic & Contemporary Views

13March, 2019.


Moderator:         Dr Hilary Stace, Health Services Research Centre – Victoria University of Wellington

Panellists:           Paula Tesoriero, Disability Rights Commissioner – Human Rights Commission

Grace Stratton, Disability Youth Advocate

Chris Harris, National Director of Education – Holocaust Centre of New Zealand


The Memorial will be at the National Library from 16 November 2018 to 29 March 2019. After Wellington, it will then travel to the new Public Library in Christchurch and on to Auckland.

The Children’s Holocaust Memorial is an initiative of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.

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