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First-in-NZ Holocaust studies scholarship aims 'to combat denial and falsification of history'

A scholarship opportunity has opened up for people wanting to study the Holocaust.

Jewish Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

The postgraduate scholarship, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, would fund three years of master's-degee-level research in Holocaust studies for one student at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. 

The opportunity, which is a partnership with the Raye Blumenthal Freedman Trust, is open to students in any field relating to the Holocaust.

"The university has a proud record of teaching the Holocaust at all levels and has significant depth in Holocaust and genocide studies across its schools, and especially in subjects like history, literature, visual culture, anthropology, political science, music and law," said Victoria University associate professor Giacomo Lichtner.

"This scholarship will help a master's student generate new knowledge and reinforce once more our collective commitment to combat the threat posed by denial and falsification of history."

It comes after a survey of young Americans last week found that almost a quarter of respondents believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren't sure.

It also found almost two-thirds did not know six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and more than one in 10 believed Jews caused the Holocaust.

There has also been similar surveys in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

"It is important the Holocaust is not diminished in any way and an opportunity like this to partner with Victoria University of Wellington is a chance to keep our history alive in a country where, despite having a large Jewish community, a recent survey found people still have some doubt over whether the Holocaust was a myth," said Stephen Katz, chairman of the Raye Blumenthal Freedman Trust.

"As a young Jewish woman, Raye was raised to pursue ‘mitzvot’, or good deeds, so the establishment of this scholarship is a fitting way to celebrate and remember Raye," he added, referring to the scholarship's namesake.

The scholarship will be available from next year, with applications opening on 1 October and closing on 1 November.