Media Release: Fighting genocide - UNESCO speaks out

The UNESCO director-general's message to the world for United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day is powerful and timely, said New Zealand Holocaust Centre director Mrs Inge Woolf today.

Headed "Antisemitic propaganda and the Holocaust: from words to genocide," Mrs Bokova's words challenge us all to commemorate the Holocaust victims regardless of our origin or religion; to answer hate speech and propaganda with intelligence and reason; to stand against racism and antisemitism; and to use the media and education programmes to spread knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust.

"Mrs Bokova's powerful message is a spur to all Kiwis to see through propaganda and the falsification of history, because we know they lead to hatred and violence," Mrs Woolf added.

"As Mrs Bokova stated, the Nazi genocide of European Jews confronts us with the most extreme perversion – the negation of humanity in the human being. That must not be allowed to happen again.

"The New Zealand Holocaust Centre is dedicated to educating New Zealand society, through Holocaust history and remembrance, that we need to oppose prejudice in all its forms, and guard against attempts to make any group a target, as happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

"Although studying genocide confronts us with the worst of humanity, as Mrs Bokova says, it also inspires and empowers individuals to stand against prejudice and apathy.

"The death of 1.5 million Jewish children has inspired Wellington children to collect 1.5 million buttons which we plan will be the genesis of a national Holocaust Children's Memorial – for the children, by children.

"We want New Zealand children to respect the diversity in our society, and see the dangers inherent in bullying; and also the dangers of being bystanders to the bad actions of others.

"We invite all Wellington children to join us on UN Holocaust Remembrance Day, Wednesday 27 January at 2pm at the Holocaust Memorial, Makara Cemetery, to lay buttons to remember the children who died so tragically," Mrs Woolf concluded.