International Holocaust Remembrance Day

New Zealand is the first country in the world to observe the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Auschwitz liberation day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an international memorial day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand invites you to join them at the Holocaust Memorial at Makara Cemetery for a commemoration ceremony on Tuesday 27  January at 1pm.  You are also invited to the “Auschwitz to Aotearoa” exhibition at Bowen House from 27 January to 20 February which  is open to the public from Wednesdays to Fridays from 12-3pm. Come and see this compelling exhibition about 9 Jewish women who survived incarceration in Auschwitz.

Syndetics book coverSuch good girls : the journey of the Holocaust’s hidden child survivors / R.D. Rosen.
“Rosen reconstructs the experiences of three childhood survivors of the Holocaust. As Jewish children, Sophie Turner-Zaretsky, Flora Hogman, and Carla Lessing spent their early years in hiding in Poland, France, and Holland, respectively. Although their individual stories are unique, each spent significant years of her youth living in fear. Inevitably, the trauma that defined their hidden years informed their adult years, including their career choices in the helping professions. As adults, these women all experienced an ever-increasing need to confront their fears and anxieties by connecting with others who spent the war as hidden children. Recognizing that children who survived by hiding lacked an organized support group, each of these woman was instrumental in establishing networks and conferences for their unique peer group. By focusing on an often-overlooked group of survivors, Rosen has made a significant contribution to the Holocaust record.–Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2014 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverThe commandant of Lubizec : a novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard / Patrick Hicks.
“Readers who have not read extensively about the Holocaust may be surprised, and perhaps puzzled, to learn at this novel’s end that the Nazi death camp in Poland described in agonizing and moving detail is fictional. For those able to put aside the question of why poet (This London) and debut novelist Hicks made the choice not to describe an actual death camp, his tale will serve as a solid depiction of historical horrors. The eponymous commandant, Hans-Peter Guth, is believably painted with the schizophrenic personality required for a good family man who plays with his children before heading off to work as an architect of genocide. Hicks goes to gruesome lengths to show that those living near such extermination centers knew what was going on, graphically depicting how the windows of surrounding houses were stained by human fat. His methodical style, which mimics an actual history book, down to the inclusion of footnotes, presents the Nazis’ logical approach to mass murder via the accumulation of small but damning details. No one will mistake this for Night or Schindler’s List, but it’s nonetheless a grim eye-opener. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe holocaust sites of Europe : an historical guide
“With this one-volume work, Winstone (independent scholar) offers a very important addition to reference collections holding materials on the Holocaust and European Jewish history. For both researchers and laypeople, this is an unprecedented, comprehensive guide to places of interest including camps, massacre sites, cities and ghettos, euthanasia centers, and museums and memorials in all of the major Holocaust sites in Europe–from Belgium, Belarus, and Greece to Serbia and Ukraine. The work also includes information on Sinti and Roma sites, along with a detailed and authoritative “suggested reading” section of leading historical studies. Beyond the narrative of genocide that typifies reference works on this subject matter, this volume’s historical context, provided for each country and region, is both impressive and extremely well researched. This work will be very valuable for all researchers and travelers interested in learning more about this chapter in world history. Its maps and illustrations are informative and well selected in terms of geography and historical significance. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. L. Lampert California State University–NorthridgeCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” (CHOICE)

Syndetics book coverMeasure of a man : from Auschwitz survivor to presidents’ tailor : a memoir / Martin Greenfield with Wynton Hall.
“He’s been called ‘America’s greatest living tailor’ and ‘the most interesting man in the world.’ Now, for the first time, Holocaust survivor Martin Greenfield tells his incredible life story. Taken from his Czechoslovakian home at age fifteen and transported to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz with his family, Greenfield came face to face with ‘Angel of Death’ Dr. Joseph Mengele and was divided forever from his [family] … He learned how to sew; and when he began wearing the shirt under his prisoner uniform, he learned that clothes possess great power and could even help save his life [and led ultimately to his] founding America’s premier custom suit company”– Provided by publisher.


International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, 27 January, is the international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust. It is also the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenhau was liberated.

In Wellington, the annual commemoration is today at 2pm at the Holocaust Memorial, Makara Cemetery, Karori. The theme this year is:
Passing on Holocaust remembrance from one generation to the next

Many stories have been told and written about the horrors of the Holocaust. Stories about the victims, survivors, and also stories about people who risked their lives to help those in need.  There are also still many unknown stories, it is important that these stories are told and passed on to the next generation. One of those stories was about Jane Haining. Last month I was invited to a book launch at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand in Webb Street. The author Lynley Smith introduced her book From Matron to Martyr.

Syndetics book coverFrom matron to martyr.
“Lynley shared the moving story of her relative, Jane Haining, a Scottish missionary sent to Budapest, Hungary before the war, to be the matron of a girls’ orphanage. She refused to abandon her Jewish charges and ended up in Auschwitz, where she died.
After finding a tenuous family connection to the mysterious and captivating Jane Haining, Lynley Smith crafted Jane’s fictionalized diary, a biography of a faithful servant and Scottish missionary who died at the hands of Nazis in Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II. From Matron to Martyr is an inspirational and bittersweet book. ” (courtesy of the author)

Have  you visited the Holocaust Centre in Webb Street? The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand aims to collect and record the stories of Holocaust survivors who fled from Hitler’s Europe, came to New Zealand and made new lives here. Their stories are available for education and research purposes.

The project is supported by volunteers committed to telling the stories of those who suffered and those who were cruelly murdered, in ways that will inspire following generations, both Jewish and of other faiths, to combat intolerance wherever it occurs and respect the dignity of the lives of every man, woman and child.