Holocaust Memorial launches in New Zealand

15 November 2018: Holocaust Memorial launches in New Zealand

The Children’s Holocaust Memorial will be officially launched at the National Library of New Zealand 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 1 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 Services to Schools national collections.

'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' says Jeremy Smith, Chair of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.

'We’re honoured to host the Children’s Holocaust Memorial at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. This powerful and moving memorial reinforces the importance of reading to build a better understanding of our history,' says Bill Macnaught National Librarian.

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

Children’s Holocaust Memorial — Social Justice Speakers Programme

The refugee experience in New Zealand: Two unique perspectives — 5 December 2018

Moderator — Tracey Barnett, Journalist and Former Executive Member Refugee Council of New Zealand


  • Ibrahim Omer, Chair — Changemakers Refugee Forum
  • Inge Wolf, Co-Founder - Holocaust Centre of New Zealand

Challenging discrimination and prejudice in Aotearoa: What it means to stand up — 20 February 2019

Moderator — Dianne Davis, Deputy Chair - Holocaust Centre of New Zealand


  • Peter Fa’afiu, Chair — Amnesty International New Zealand
  • Louisa Wall, Member of Parliament for Manurewa
  • Deborah Hart, Panel Member - Human Rights Review Tribunal; Executive Director — Arbitrators & Mediators Institute of NZ

Disability rights: Historic and contemporary views 13 March 2019

Moderator — Dr Hilary Stace, Health Services Research Centre — Victoria University of Wellington


  • Paula Tesoriero, Disability Rights Commissioner — Human Rights Commission
  • Grace Stratton, Disability Youth Advocate
  • Chris Harris, National Director of Education — Holocaust Centre of New Zealand

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.

Media contact

For further information, please contact media@dia.govt.nz phone +64 27 535 8639 or contact Dianne Davis on +64 21 084 77414.