New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner has called out hateful, anti-Semitic social media posts on UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day

As the world prepares to mark 73 years since the liberation of the German concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy this morning released a screenshot of hateful, anti-Semitic Facebook Posts from recent weeks, many of them made by New Zealanders.

Dame Susan said that Facebook were around during the Third Reich these posts would’ve fitted right in, they’re disgusting and they have no place in our country. I’m gutted to think there are Kiwis who think this is OK.

“I found these posts incredibly hard to read, but nowhere near as hard to read as some of my Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust and who today in 2018 are still facing this kind of hatred. Enough.”

“New Zealanders need to know that racist hatred is never OK and we all need to call it out when we see it in front of us.”

The screenshots were sent to the commission by Jewish New Zealanders who collected them in recent weeks.

Due to speak at today’s memorial service at Makara Cemetery to mark UN Holocaust Remembrance Day, Dame Susan said hatred starts casually.

In words, jokes, editorials and posts on social media: “Hatred wasn’t born in a concentration camp: it was born in the hearts and minds of people who casually spread it around their neighbourhoods, families and communities. These are the seeds of hatred: Hate starts small – but as one Holocaust survivor told me once, so too does hope.”

“New Zealanders who survived the Holocaust are some of the bravest people I’ve ever met, each and every one deserve a Victoria Cross for their courage during the war but also afterwards when they continued to tell the world what happened.

“We know that during the Holocaust millions of everyday people stayed silent and looked the other way. Millions of neighbours, workmates and friends chose to be bystanders. But instead of standing by, when Kiwis see this kind of hatred, we need to stand up.”

“A foreign government’s policies is never an excuse to spread racist rhetoric and call for the genocide of an entire people.”

New Zealand’s award winning Give Nothing to Racism campaign was in part inspired by Kiwi Holocaust survivors who have continued to speak out and to remind us that hatred starts small, in our everyday lives.