At assembly this morning our young men and staff had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Chris Harris, the CEO of the Holocaust Centre New Zealand. In telling the story of his family, where only three family members who emigrated to Ireland prior to WWII survived, the remainder perishing under the Nazi rule and in the concentration and death camps, Mr. Harris brought home the human story behind many of the staggering statistics that we associate with the holocaust. He also explained the roles that some of the 1,200 Jews who emigrated to New Zealand between 1933 and 1945 have had in our society. Mr. Harris’ presentation emphasised the importance of tolerance and acceptance for all groups in society, a message aligning with one of our school values, Tū Whakaaute | Respect.
Mr. Harris also had an important message about the importance of remembering the events if the past – no matter how horrific they might have been – so that we can learn from them and make better decisions and be better people in the future.
Mr. Harris is in Palmerston North for the opening of the Children’s Holocaust Memorial exhibition, which is at Te Manawa until June 27. https://www.temanawa.co.nz/event/childrens-holocaust-memorial/ The exhibition emphasises the importance of being an UPSTANDER – having the Tū Māia | Courage to stand up and confront injustice in all aspects of life. In his assembly Mr. Harris built on this idea for your young men, challenging them to have the moral courage to act when they see things that they know are not right.