Holocaust Consciousness in New Zealand 1980-2010: A Study
This thesis chronicles and examines the major New Zealand specific Holocaust-related issues of the last three decades, in the time period 1980 to 2010. The Holocaust has had a long reaching legacy worldwide since the end of the Second World War. There have been major news items and issues that have brought the Holocaust to the forefront of people's consciousness throughout the decades, the most prominent example being the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. It was major news such as that trial, as well as Hollywood productions such as the TV miniseries Holocaust in the late 1970s, that brought about widespread consciousness of the Holocaust worldwide, in countries such as the United States and Australia. In New Zealand, but major Holocaust-related issues connected specifically to New Zealand did not begin to emerge until the 1980s. This thesis investigates, in three chapters, differing issues over the aforementioned time period that have had an impact on consciousness of the Holocaust in New Zealand. The issues investigated are respectively: the war criminals investigation of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the colonial 'holocaust' argument of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Holocaust denial controversies in New Zealand academia, and the growth and evolution of Holocaust commemoration and education. Although some issues, such as commemoration and education, began earlier, it was not until the 1980s that these issues developed in earnest and a greater number of people began to take notice of the connection of these issues, and in turn New Zealand, to the Holocaust. The main arguments made in this thesis are that New Zealand's consciousness of the Holocaust developed when it did and at the rate it did because of particular aspects of the Jewish community and New Zealand society as a whole, including the geographical isolation of the country, the size and assimilation of the Jewish and survivor communities here, and the overall attitudes and on occasion apathy and ignorance towards the Holocaust. All of these aspects have influenced, to varying degrees, consciousness of the Holocaust within New Zealand throughout the time period of 1980 to 2010.