Mr. Chris Harris, CEO Holocaust Centre NZ by PNBHS

Respect, Tolerance and Being an Upstander

At a recent assembly young men and staff had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Chris Harris, the CEO of the Holocaust Centre New Zealand.

In telling the story of his family, where only three family members who emigrated to Ireland prior to WWII survived, the remainder perishing under the Nazi rule and in the concentration and death camps, Mr. Harris brought home the human story behind many of the staggering statistics that we associate with the holocaust. He also explained the roles that some of the 1,200 Jews who emigrated to New Zealand between 1933 and 1945 have had in our society. Mr. Harris’ presentation emphasised the importance of tolerance and acceptance for all groups in society, a message aligning with one of our school values, Tū Whakaaute | Respect.

Mr. Harris also had an important message about the importance of remembering the events of the past – no matter how horrific they might have been – so that we can learn from them and make better decisions and be better people in the future.

The History Department intends to take all its senior classes to the Children's Holocaust Memorial in Term 1 to take part in a learning programme offered by Te Manawa. Year 13 students who will be studying Nazi Germany and the Holocaust this year will also take part in a trip to Wellington to visit the New Zealand Holocaust Centre to enrich their understanding of this topic.

Children's Holocaust Memorial - at Te Manawa until June 27

Mr. Harris is in Palmerston North for the opening of the Children’s Holocaust Memorial exhibition, which is at Te Manawa until June 27. The exhibition emphasises the importance of being an UPSTANDER – having the Tū Māia| Courage to stand up and confront injustice in all aspects of life. In his assembly Mr. Harris built on this idea for your young men, challenging them to have the moral courage to act when they see things that they know are not right.

"First they came..." -  Martin Niemöller

"First they came ..." is the poetic form of a post-war confessional prose by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals and certain clergy—including, by his own admission, Niemöller himself—following the Nazis' rise to power and subsequent incremental purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

A Holocaust Survivors Message to Future Generations