Auckland woman Tanya Hart believes she owes her existence to three men - her father, and two others who saved her father's life during the Holocaust.
On Wednesday, Auckland's Jewish community will gather for Yom HaShoah, the annual Holocaust memorial service which for the first time is dedicated to non-Jews who helped save Jewish lives during the Holocaust.
Hart, 48, a manager at Trees That Count, is born in New Zealand but says the story of her family's survival from the Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was "part of my life, and part of my DNA".
Between 1941 and 1945, about six million Jews - two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population - were systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.
Hart's father, Andrie Solomon Hart, was born in 1936 to Dora and Josef Grynbaum in Antwerp, Belgium, where the couple owned a tailoring business.
For a family for whom Judaism was a central part of their daily lives, they were severely affected when the Germans invaded and occupied Belgium in 1940.
"Dad was just 4 years old, but he remembers a truckload of German Nazis knocking loudly on the door one morning at 6am," Hart said.
"They arrested grandad Josef and took him to the labour camps, he told dad, 'You and mom must go and hide and I'll be back soon.' But that was the last time he saw grandad."
The family later learned that Grynbaum was transported to Auschwitz where he was killed in July 1943.
Her father and grandmother then tried to flee by car to Switzerland, but the border was already under German surveillance and they had to make a detour to Brussels.
While walking on the main street one day, her dad witnessed his uncle being shot by German soldiers.
"Grandma Dora knew their lives were in danger, and with the help of the Jewish Agency, she succeeded in placing Dad in a Jewish orphanage," Hart said.
One night in 1944, the children were smuggled out of the orphanage, put on a train and taken to a Catholic Church in central Belgium where a priest hid them."
Hidden in the church for nine months whilethe war escalated, the priest allowed the children to practice Judaism in secret.
They were allowed to wear kippot, have morning and evening tefillah or prayers and also encouraged to continue with their Hebrew lessons.
Meanwhile, to escape detection, her grandmother took on the identity of a non-Jewish woman who had died and wore a cross around her neck while living with Nazi sympathisers.
"At the end of the war, out of the 50 children hidden in the church, Dad was the only one reunited with a living parent," Hart said.
"Grandma, emaciated and weighing only 40kg, had tracked down her son. The little boy had not forgotten his mother. 'Mommy, you came for me'."
The Catholic priest who hid her father was later found out, and killed.
Three weeks after liberation, Hart's sick, starving and emaciated grandmother was introduced to a British army captain, Peter Hart.
"They moved to England in 1947, Dad was adopted and took the Hart name but Peter, who is a non-Jew, encouraged Dad's Judaism," Hart said.
After suffering the atrocities of war and genocide, her grandmother wanted to get as far away as possible from Europe - and the family moved to New Zealand a year later.
Auckland was where Andrie grew up, got married and had three children, Tanya and her two older brothers David and Anthony. He died, aged 84, last year.
"My step-grandfather Peter gave both my grandmother and my dad a great life in New Zealand, and I think I owe my very existence to what he did and the Catholic priest who hid dad," Hart said.
"It is a fact that without the righteous gentiles, I wouldn't be here today."
Rob Berg, Zionist Federation of NZ president, said the decision to dedicate this year's memorial to non-Jews who helped save Jews was because they were often a "forgotten people".
"It is easy to remember the Jews who survived the Holocaust and those who committed the murders, but the non-Jewish heroes usually go unnoticed," Berg said.
Wednesday's service will be by invitation only due to security reasons.
"Unfortunately there is still an issue with ignorance and anti-semitism in New Zealand, so we will not be opening the memorial service to the public," said Berg.
Last year, a survey that reached out to 10 per cent of the New Zealand Jewish community found 70 members had experienced anti-semitic verbal abuses and three had been physically attacked in the previous 12 months.