By David Zwartz and Nadine Rubin Nathan for J-Wire…
New Zealand, one of few countries in a Covid-ravaged world still able to have large gatherings for the observance of United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, saw commemorations take place around the country in major centres including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as in Hamilton and Napier.
A significant statement was made by the Governor-General, the local representative of New Zealand’s Queen.
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy reminded the 400-strong audience at the Auckland War Memorial Museum of a M?ori proverb: Haere whakamua, titiro whakamuri. (We must walk into the future with our eyes wide open to the past).
We should all acknowledge and learn from our own country’s shameful history with Jewish refugees,” she said. “Between 1936 and 1938, when European Jews were frantically searching for sanctuary from Nazi persecution, New Zealand rejected some 1,731 formal applications from them to immigrate here. That was over 70% of the applications we received. We also actively discouraged thousands more from even applying.”
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