MP’s challenged as “Auschwitz. Now.” opens at NZ Parliament

March 6, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Seventeen MP’s from across New Zealand’s political spectrum attended the official opening of the new exhibition “Auschwitz. Now.” at Parliament in Wellington this week.

Auschwitz II-Birkenau: wagon used to transport Hungarian Jews. From the exhibition “Auschwitz. Now.” © Copyright 2019 Perry Trotter, Holocaust and Antisemitism Foundation, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Host MP Alfred Ngaro addressed the gathering as did exhibition creators Perry and Sheree Trotter, founders of Holocaust and Antisemitism Foundation, Aotearoa New Zealand (formerly Shadows of Shoah Trust). MP’s in attendance included Green Co-leader Marama Davidson who described “Auschwitz. Now.” as“A powerful exhibition. An important statement.”

Kanwal Singh Bakshi, Dr Itzhak Gerberg, Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand, Moka Ngaro, Alfred Ngaro, Perry Trotter, Sheree Trotter, Jenny Salesa, David Zwartz, Dane Giraud

Sheree Trotter spoke of NZ’s troubled relationship to the Holocaust and related issues. She recounted NZ’s response to the plight of Jews, from the pogroms in Russian at the end of the nineteenth century, to the refugee crisis of the 1930s and ’40s. While expressions of sympathy were many, little concrete action was taken to help those fleeing persecution. In addition, when up to forty-six Nazi war criminals were suspected of having found refuge in New Zealand, despite a two-year investigation by a government-formed two-man task force in the early 1990s, none of the suspects was brought before a court of law.

Alfred Ngaro, National List MP, host of the event

Photographer Perry Trotter challenged MP’s in attendance to consider not only the events of the Holocaust but the broader historical context of pervasive and persistent antisemitism. He said: Antisemitism is an equal opportunities evil: it adapts equally well to German high culture, the medieval barbarism of many of Israel’s neighbours, ostensibly evangelical Christian theology, and the BDS-supporting intersectional left.”

The Trotters visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in September 2019 and “Auschwitz. Now.” includes images captured at that time. The exhibition also includes large black and white portraits of Holocaust survivors along with three-minute Shadows of Shoah survivor stories. “Auschwitz. Now.” was launched in January to an audience of 500 at a UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Bethlehem, Tauranga. The exhibition will remain at the NZ Parliament until 26 March and will then tour nationally.

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