NZ ‘Nazi’ students get the true Holocaust experience

October 21, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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“Thank you for having shown us the truth,” wrote a Lincoln University student in the  Wellington Holocaust Centre’s Visitors’ Book at the end of a busy day.The student was acting in accordance with the Christchurch-based university’s demands that he and 14 others visit the Centre as part of the disciplinary action taken when the Vice-Chancellor learned that they had posed as Nazis and concentration camp victims as part of an Oktoberfest party.

He was one of the fifteen told by Lincoln Vice Chancellor Roger Field to spend a day learning about the Holocaust at the Wellington Holocaust Research and Education Centre.

The group also had an hour’s session with German ambassador His Excellency Thomas Meister and members of the embassy staff, learning about modern Germany.

Two Auschwitz survivors told the students about their harrowing experiences, and they also heard from a third-generation Jewish student who has visited the death camp more recently.

“The students were attentive and respectful of the speakers and the topic,” said Holocaust Centre director Inge Woolf. “The whole unfortunate episode at the Lincoln student party comes out of ignorance, and underlines the need for more knowledge and understanding about the Holocaust and World War 2 as part of our education system.

“Teaching about the Holocaust means teaching about tolerance and understanding of others who may be different from us. It isn’t just about the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany, it’s about the way conditions develop that lead to other genocides like in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur,” Mrs Woolf said.

“We want all New Zealand youth to learn how these things happened, and then take responsibility for making sure they don’t happen again,” she added.

The students, who now have to write a 2000-word essay as part of the university’s disciplinary action, were accompanied by Lincoln Students’ Association President Megan Harte.


One Response to “NZ ‘Nazi’ students get the true Holocaust experience”
  1. victor says:

    What a civilized way to overcome a problem and reach out

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