The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand condemns, without exception, the promotion of any material or commentary in New Zealand that denies the occurrence of the Holocaust or seeks to minimise its scale and well-documented planning and implementation.
In a statement released today, Holocaust Centre chair Jeremy Smith said that anti-Semitic material recently distributed in the Dunedin area specifically promoted a book that denies the Holocaust.
“This kind of material is deeply offensive to our Survivors here in New Zealand, and also dishonours the millions of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust, along with Soviet prisoners of war, ethnic Poles, Roma, gay men, disabled people and political opponents of the Nazis.”
The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand upholds and believes in freedom of speech (even when we might find certain views highly objectionable, even abhorrent), he said.
“But Holocaust Denial is in a category of its own, one based on a gross lie, a fundamental mistruth – namely, that the Holocaust never happened at all, or that it has been wildly exaggerated.
“This kind of commentary is, at its essence, hate speech with the consequence of promulgating wider anti-Semitism within our community. In New Zealand, we simply cannot allow hate speech of this kind to go unchallenged.”
As an organisation dedicated to Holocaust education and remembrance, we will always speak out against those who deny the Holocaust, Smith said.