First Holocaust commemorations on Auckland marae

By Mānia Clarke

Jewish and non-Jewish communities around the country gathered to commemorate United Nations' International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

For the first time Auckland commemorations took place on the marae at AUT.

Auckland Hebrew Congregation Senior Rabbi, Nathaniel Friedler says it's an honour to commemorate their ancestors in this way.

“Commemorating the six million Jews who perished in Holocaust in Shoah and having it in a marae is absolutely unique and special,” says Rabbi Friedler.

AUT Te Ara Poutama extended the invitation to the local Jewish community in a move to support the remembrance of their loved ones lost.

“We [among] other things are tangata whenua,” says Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Pare Keiha.

“We have a responsibility to whakamana all manuhiri, all citizen's, whether they be according to their creed, their race, their sexual orientation or indeed their gender.”

74 years ago thousands were liberated from Auschwitz concentration camp.

This year’s theme recognised those non-Jewish who risked their lives to save Jewish lives.

Holocaust Centre NZ Deputy Dianne Davis says, “A number of kaumātua have shared with us their empathy for the suffering and the loss of life that both our cultures have experienced.”

“So the challenge is not only to commemorate, whether it be Auschwitz, whether it be Parihaka, whether it be Ngatapa, whether it be Gate Pā, regrettably we all share common histories,” says Prof Keiha.

“We are not all kind, all caring and all loving towards each other and war regrettably reminds us of that.”

Direct survivors of the holocaust will share their experiences at events across the country.