New Zealanders who survived the Holocaust have helped inspire the Human Rights Commission’s anti-racism campaigns. Tomorrow marks UN Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the German Concentration and Extermination camp, Auschwitz. In New Zealand it’s theme is the commission’s “Give Nothing to Racism” campaign.
“Our campaign was in part inspired by our very own Kiwi survivors of the Shoa who went on to spend their lives talking about the horrors they witnessed. They saw it as their duty as people, parents, Jews and New Zealanders to keep talking so that the world could never forgot. Each and every one of them deserve a Victoria Cross for the bravery they’ve shown throughout their lives,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“Survivors remember as children that the hatred started small in newspapers, classrooms, workplaces and neighbourhoods. We need Kiwis to recognise the seeds of hate and to call them out. Don’t stand by: stand up.”
“What is also important to remember is that millions of people looked the other way or joined in as hatred spread and took over their communities. Our survivors remember that instead of speaking up for others – millions of neighbours, workmates, and friends chose to be bystanders, or worse, participants.”
“Those who spread hate and prejudice in our communities need to know their hatred is not welcome: and it’s everyday New Zealanders who need to give them that message.”
The commission’s award-winning Give Nothing to Racism campaign launched by New Zealander of the Year Taika Waititi last year urges Kiwis to recognise that racism starts small and sometimes it lives in everyday actions and comments that sometimes we laugh off or ignore.
“But when we excuse or ignore those racist, prejudiced comments; we also accept them. We can stop casual racism from growing into something more extreme. We can give it no encouragement. No respect. No place. No power. We can give it Nothing.”
The world’s first Holocaust remembrance events will take place in Wellington tomorrow at Makara Cemetery and Parliament.
More information is provided here.