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The Holocaust and New Zealand

29 Jul 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
History, Society and culture

What is the significance of the Holocaust to New Zealanders?

LEVEL: Secondary

The Holocaust refers to the genocide (mass murder) of millions of Jewish people, and others, during the Second World War. It was a devastating period, and the atrocities commited during the Holocaust affected all the countries involved in fighting the war, including New Zealand

For a reliable introduction to the Holocaust have a look at the BBC History page; using the links at the bottom of the page you can navigate via British History and World Wars to Genocide Under the Nazis

Te Ara: Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa; with lots of information about New Zealand society and culture, you will be able to find information about some of the people living in New Zealand and how the Holocaust might have affected them, or how they remember it:

  • Use the sections tab then click on 'New Zealand Peoples'; this will result in a listing of nationalities and you can find out about all the different cultures living in New Zealand.
  • As the Holocaust affected millions of Polish Jews, you can look under Jews as well as Poles.
  • By clicking on Poles you can read all about Polish life in New Zealand. The story 20th-century Arrivals talks about the Poles that arrived in New Zealand during and after the Second World War.
  • Click on Jews and you can read about Jewish immigrants in New Zealand. This includes immigrationrefugees, and Zionism. On the page Zionism in New Zealand you can click on Images and Media and scroll through the pictures to some info about Remembering the Holocaust in New Zealand.  

Do check out Digital NZ; this site brings together results from lots of different websites and is an easy way of searching a range of New Zealand resources. Entering the keyword Holocaust into the search box will give many results, but we suggest you concentrate on those in the audio and video categories; this will have the benefit of adding the human element to the events that occurred under the German regime of this period. 

Also have a look at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand. Here you'll be able to find information about Holocaust Survivor Stories, as well as stories from the second generation of survivors. As you can see from this website, the Holocaust is still a very significant event to many New Zealanders.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .org in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are. 

For further information about New Zealand's involvement in World War TwoNZHistory is a great place to look. You can use the quick links at the bottom of the page, choosing War and Society, then the Second World War

You can also use Te Ara to check out information about New Zealand immigration. Follow these steps to find information about immigration to New Zealand during World War Two. 

  • Click the sections tab followed by New Zealand Peoples.
  • Next click on History of Immigration. This will give you a quick summary of immigration to New Zealand over the years. You can also choose which period in particular you'd like to know about.
  • Navigate to The Second World War: 1939-1945. This will give you some numbers about how many refugees came to New Zealand during the war, including Jews that were escaping the Holocaust and children sent over by their parents to keep them safe from the air raids in England. 

For a more detailed look at the immigration issue check out the Statistics New Zealand website. Use the search box and enter the keywords 'immigration' and '1940s'. New Zealand's International Migration Statistics has some descriptive detail for the period 1922-2009, and there is also the opportunity to browse the New Zealand Official Yearbooks from 1893 to 2012. You will see some instructions on searching the latter and to locate relevant information we suggest using the keyword 'migration'. 

HOT TIP: If you need to find other information on the Holocaust try our ManyAnswers entries on the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and Jewish Children in Nazi Germany

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