The Children’s Holocaust Memorial will be officially launched at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa in Wellington on 15 November 2018.

The Memorial honours the 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust (including children related to New Zealand’s own Holocaust survivors and refugees).

The Memorial is the first of its kind in the world, taking the simple everyday button as an icon – chosen by the then Principal of the Moriah Jewish Day School in Wellington in an effort to communicate to her students the enormity of the number of children killed.

Over one million buttons have been collected from around New Zealand and internationally to symbolise the 1.5 million innocent lives lost.

The majority of the buttons will be contained in a truly unique design and installation by Matthijs Siljee of Massey University’s School of Design.

Other key elements of the Memorial include an interactive educational section – especially relevant for schoolchildren – and a reflective reading space with a selection of books from the National Library’s substantial
Holocaust collection.

Holocaust Centre of New Zealand chair Jeremy Smith says the Children’s Holocaust Memorial represents the culmination of many years work, especially the passion and dedication of a number of our Holocaust Survivors.

“The enduring lesson of the Holocaust for New Zealanders is a preparedness to stand up to discrimination and prejudice and the violation of human rights…in essence, to be an upstander not bystander.”

National Library of New Zealand spokesperson Bill Macnaught says they are honoured to host the Children’s Holocaust Memorial at the National Library.

“This powerful and moving memorial reinforces the importance of reading to build a better understanding of our history.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a programme of public events including social justice- themed panel discussions and presentations will be held at the National Library during the Memorial’s residency.

The Memorial will be at the National Library from 16 November 2018 to 29 March 2019. After Wellington, it will then travel to the new Public Library in Christchurch and on to Auckland.

The Children’s Holocaust Memorial is an initiative of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.