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Centre News APRIL 2020

The magazine of the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, Australia

A lasting legacy for Holocaust education

Registered by Australia Post. Publication No. VBH 7236

JHC Board Co-Presidents Vice-President Treasurer Secretary Executive Directors Non-Executive Directors

Pauline Rockman OAM Sue Hampel OAM David Cohen Richard Michaels Elly Brooks Abram Goldberg OAM Helen Mahemoff Allen Brostek Anita Frayman Paul Kegen Phil Lewis Melanie Raleigh Mary Slade

JHC Foundation Chairperson Trustees

Helen Mahemoff Allen Brostek David Cohen Jeffrey Mahemoff AO Joey Borensztajn Nina Bassat AM

Office of the Museum Director Museum Director

Jayne Josem

Education Head of Education Education Officer Education Officer Education Officer Education Officer

Lisa Phillips Daniel Stiglec Fanny Hoffman Melanie Attar Soo Isaacs

Museum & Engagement Senior Curator Educational Engagement Manager Audio Visual Producer

Sandy Saxon Jennifer Levitt Maxwell


Editor’s note


Director’s cut


Education 4 Building the Future


Jewish Holocaust Centre establishes The Judy and Leon Goldman Centre for Holocaust Education


Survivor testimony as the final word on the Holocaust


Remembering the Holocaust: a personal reflection



Where shall I go? – Jewish Displaced Persons in post-war Italy


Lyndhurst Holocaust Memorial consecration


Mazal tov to Henri Korn


Religious diversity and tolerance in Germany


IHRA meets in Luxembourg


A new museum, a new vision


Recent acquisitions


Georgina Alexander

A meaningful choice


Lana Zuker

Giving to remember


Michael Stromenger

Seen around the Centre


Community news


Julia Reichstein

Operations Laura Etyngold Roy John Daniel Feldman Rae Silverstein Karen Miksad

Redevelopment Consultants Gavan O’Connor Claire Jordaan Arek Dybel

Centre News Editor Yiddish Editor

From the Presidents

Generously supporting the JHC’s mission Dr Anna Hirsh Phillip Maisel OAM

Marketing Manager Danielle Kamien Communications & Events Evelyn Portek Officer

Curatorial Assistant Operations Support Officer Multimedia Consultant



Marketing & Philanthropy

Operations Manager Finance Manager Special Projects Officer Volunteer Coordinator Administrative Support Officer Administrative Support Officer Operations Support Officer Austrian Intern

We consider the finest memorial to all victims of racist policies to be an educational program that aims to combat antisemitism, racism and prejudice in the community, and fosters understanding between people.

Memories of the liberation of Auschwitz

Robbie Simons

Collections Senior Archivist Director of Testimonies Project Librarian & Information Manager

The Jewish Holocaust Centre is dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945.

Ruth Mushin Alex Dafner

On the cover:

13–15 Selwyn Street Elsternwick Vic 3185 Australia* t: (03) 9528 1985 w: www.jhc.org.au

NOTE: During the redevelopment the JHC will not be operating as a museum for the public but will continue to host events. These will be advertised via the ‘In the Loop’ e-newsletter. Please visit our website to subscribe. * Site under redevelopment

(l-r) Jonathon Lazarus, Leon Goldman and Terri Lazarus Photo: Rozanna Nazar This publication has been designed and produced by Grin Creative / grincreative.com.au

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Centre News are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the magazine editor or editorial committee. While Centre News welcomes ideas, articles, photos, poetry and letters, it reserves the right to accept or reject material. There is no automatic acceptance of submissions.

From the Presidents Pauline Rockman & Sue Hampel


you read this, the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) will have closed its doors after 36 years in Selwyn Street, Elsternwick. We are now in the process of moving to our temporary accommodation in Malvern East where we will reside for the next 18 months or so. Our goal is to create a world-class museum on the foundations of the current museum, to enshrine the legacy of our Melbourne Holocaust survivors for future generations and to continue to deliver the universal lessons of the Holocaust: the need for social responsibility and human rights and to combat racism, prejudice, antisemitism and discrimination. Museums tell stories. They exist because once upon a time someone believed there was a story worth telling to future generations. This is at the core of what the Melbourne survivors who established the JHC considered, and is the culmination of their thoughts and dreams. It saddens us greatly that we have lost so many survivors in recent times, but it makes us even more determined to uphold their legacy. In our temporary home we will continue to run our excellent education programs, where thousands of students can meet and interact with Holocaust survivors, but we will not be open to the general public. On 27 January we observed UN Holocaust Remembrance Day with a moving commemoration at the Malvern Town Hall. This year also marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Sue Hampel has been appointed the next International Chair of the Education Committee Working Group of IHRA and her report can be found on page 22.

Editor’s note Ruth Mushin


the Jewish Holocaust Centre has moved into temporary premises in preparation for the major redevelopment that is about to begin, we feel that it is timely to tell you something about some of the wonderful donors who are going to help make this happen. In this edition of Centre News we highlight the Goldman, Besen and Melzak families – their backgrounds and what drives them to so generously support the Centre’s work. We plan to bring you more donor stories in subsequent editions.

Pauline Rockman was privileged to be in Israel with her children and grandchildren in December 2019. Their visit to Yad Vashem was an emotional experience for three generations. In the words of her grandson, Julian Bekinschtein, aged 14, ‘Visiting Yad Vashem was an amazing experience. It brought tears to my eyes looking at the different artefacts and stories from the Holocaust period. It was inspiring to hear about the Righteous Among the Nations and what they did to help hide or save Jews. It really opened up my mind to how horrifically the Jewish people were treated during the Holocaust and how lucky we are to be able to live in Melbourne at this present time.’ Thank you so much to all our supporters. Your support indicates the deep sense of understanding and commitment within our community to the work we are undertaking. Pauline Rockman OAM and Sue Hampel OAM are co-presidents of the Jewish Holocaust Centre.

We feature articles based on two thoughtful and moving addresses given at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration held in Melbourne in January: the keynote address by Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld and the survivor testimony of Eva Slonim. Professor Rosenfeld’s article focuses on the Holocaust and other genocides, his personal experience as an eyewitness of genocide and hatred, and the rise of antisemitic incidents today, while Eva Slonim shares her memories of being liberated by the Soviet Army at Auschwitz, the feelings of loss and guilt associated with surviving, and the importance for survivors to bear witness to what had happened. We also bring you articles by Dr Chiara Renzo, a visiting Italian academic, who presents an account of the experiences of Jewish Displaced Persons in post-war Italy, and Dr Anna Hirsh, the JHC Senior Archivist, who shines a light on religious diversity and tolerance in present-day Germany. Ruth Mushin is the editor of Centre News.

JHC Centre News


Director’s cut


Jayne Josem

Lisa Phillips


as Passover marks the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, this year Passover coincides with the exodus of the Jewish Holocaust Centre from its Selwyn Street home, albeit temporarily, while we rebuild and create a significant and striking new Holocaust museum on the site. For 18 months or so we will be ‘in the wilderness’. However, we will continue to educate as many school students as we can. Some schools will come to us, but in other cases we will go to them or we will meet them at an alternative site. We will not stop educating students about the Holocaust, nor will we stop providing them with the opportunity to meet and interact meaningfully with Holocaust survivors. This is our purpose and our solemn promise. On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I told a journalist that the most important lessons for humanity in the 21st century may be found in just one place: Auschwitz-Birkenau. There we see the depths to which humans can descend, particularly if left unchecked by others. Our survivors remind us of this every week. So, when I saw photographs of a Nazi flag flying over a house in rural Victoria I, like most people, was outraged. Hatred and ignorance continue to exist in segments of the community and that is why we need to remain vigilant. I was, however, heartened to learn of the response from neighbours who demanded the flag be removed. They then held a gathering to which locals brought an array of colourful flags and celebrated inclusivity and diversity as counters to this evil. Individuals can make a difference; we need to celebrate this. We are working with several other Jewish organisations and Gandel Philanthropy in support of the Victorian Government’s initiative to curb the rise in antisemitism in the community. Premier Daniel Andrews was indignant when he heard about the Nazi flag and has been very supportive of community efforts to fight growing antisemitism. The Victorian Liberal-National Opposition has announced its policy to ban the public display of the Nazi swastika. Let us hope that together we can make a difference in 2020 and turn this tide. Lastly, we cannot thank our wonderful supporters enough. To everyone who has supported our Capital Campaign, we are deeply grateful. Rest assured that your generosity impels our team to work even harder and to ensure our messages will continue to be heard far and wide.


this edition of Centre News goes to print, the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s (JHC) modified education program is being implemented in our new temporary space. Its name, ‘In touch with memory’, best summarises the components of the program. At its heart is the opportunity to hear testimony from a Holocaust survivor, but this is supported by two other key learning experiences: the‘Handling collection’ and a Virtual Reality (VR) film. The new ‘Handling collection’, which replaces the museum visit, comprises objects from our collection that students will have the opportunity to analyse. Our learning objectives for students are to: •

Discover the richness of artefacts and how the Holocaust was the most documented genocide.

Gain insight into the objects themselves, their purpose and the stories they might tell.

Deepen their learning by discovery and understanding based on their analysis of the objects.

Provide a hands-on experience to critically analyse evidence. In the words of N Frigo: ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember and I do and I understand’.

The Virtual Reality (VR) film which students view is of Melbourne Holocaust survivor and JHC museum guide Szaja Chaskiel. This 12-minute film made by Danny Ben Moshe has received positive feedback during the trial phase. Students have responded especially to the way the film creates a visually encompassing experience. In response to the question about what they liked best, their comments included: “Being able to see the sites instead of hearing about them was eye-opening.” “The ability to see the reality of that time period, rather than listening.” “Being able to ‘feel’ the story – moving in and out of a place.” “I liked the fact that I felt involved.” Both learning experiences will be bookended with bringing students ‘safely in’ through our introduction with a member of the education team, and ‘safely out’ through our reflection process, enabling students to make meaning out of what they have experienced. Ultimately we aim for students to make personal connections, gain new insights, consider the impact of their actions on others, understand the importance of making a difference and always aim to be the best version of themselves. The program will be trialled and evaluated throughout 2020, but we are excited to explore different ways to connect students effectively to the lessons of the Holocaust.


JHC Centre News

Building the Future  Entry


plans to build the new Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) are moving apace. Late in 2019, the Centre launched its public campaign with a target of $2 million to complete our fundraising. The community has rallied to the call and we are heartened by the support we have received. To date, the public campaign has raised $500,000 towards this target and we plan to continue this phase of the campaign until the target is achieved. This final $2 million will enable us to install the best museums possible to educate future generations in a most engaging fashion, and enable the development of extensive education programs and essential facilities. The co-chairs of the Capital Campaign, Helen

 Library Mahemoff and Phil Lewis, continue their work in the community, and are encouraged by the generosity of our supporters. We encourage those who have not yet done so to join with us and support this far-reaching project Kerstin Thompson Architects have designed a facility that is everything we dreamed of and more. Their sensitivity to the nature

of the JHC is evident in their design response. Retaining the original heritage façade within the framework of a new building is intended to treat the original site as an important artefact, for it speaks of the origins of the JHC, created by the survivors themselves. Kerstin Thompson has said, ‘Architecture’s role as a spatial language in forming the Holocaust museum is fraught.’ She has deliberately sought not to attempt to represent the Holocaust with the building design and instead is focusing on transparency, openness and light as responses to this tragic history. This reflects the life of survivors and their descendants in Australia today and their intent in opening this museum. Our curatorial team is working with exhibition designers Thylacine on two new museum displays. The first is a detailed permanent Holocaust exhibition where artefacts from Melbourne survivors provide evidence of the atrocities, and visitors move through the different stages of this dark episode, culminating in life after in Australia. The second is a space dedicated for our younger visitors: a museum for children in which the stories of child survivors will be presented in an engaging format. The focus here is on discrimination and rescue, and on how individuals can make a difference. It is a place in which the JHC’s awardwinning ‘Hide and Seek’ program can be delivered. As work on the redevelopment continues, we have now entered the building phase. For a number of years a Project Control Group has been working behind the scenes to ensure that we are able to deliver the best museum, to the highest standard. Project Manager Dean Priester is working with a strong team led by Melbourne architect Alan Synman OAM. The team includes Phil Lewis (JHC Board Member and property developer) and Paul Kegen (JHC Board Member and architect), with support from industry experts Simon Rubinstein and George Umow. We are fortunate to have such a high-calibre team working with us to ensure the delivery of an incredible building in which we can continue our important work.

JHC Centre News


 (l-r) Pauline Rockman OAM, Leon Goldman, Terri Lazarus, Jonathan Lazarus, Helen Mahemoff and Jayne Josem

Photo: Elly Brooks

Jewish Holocaust Centre establishes

The Judy and Leon Goldman Centre for Holocaust Education The

Jewish Holocaust Centre Foundation is excited to announce that it has received an unprecedented pledge to support Holocaust education at the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC). The JHC will use this gift to establish The Judy and Leon Goldman Centre for Holocaust Education. Given as an endowment to the Foundation from Leon Goldman and his family, this new initiative will secure the ongoing delivery of educational programs designed to inspire students and others to confront hatred, prevent racism and promote human dignity.

engagement – all part of the JHC’s mission to ‘Keep the Survivors’ Voices Alive’ and extend programs to educate widely for acceptance of a culturally diverse and cohesive society.

The Judy and Leon Goldman Centre for Holocaust Education will be the pre-eminent Centre for Holocaust education in Australia, embracing all aspects of the JHC’s educational activities, including the ongoing development and delivery of a range of programs for students, educators, public servants and professionals. It will ensure that the JHC continues its role in advancing and disseminating knowledge about the tragedy of the Holocaust while encouraging visitors to reflect on the need for vigilance in preserving a democratic society.

Helen Mahemoff, Chair of the JHC Foundation, expressed her thanks. She said: ‘We are so grateful for the vision and foresight of the Goldman family. This outstanding gift will enable us to continue to expand our educational agenda to ensure maximum output and reach across Victoria and beyond. It will support the further development of both museum and outreach programs through educational initiatives.’

The Judy and Leon Goldman Centre for Holocaust Education will come to represent both the JHC’s and the Goldmans’ far-reaching contribution to learning, teaching, research and community


JHC Centre News

Leon Goldman said: ‘On behalf of my late wife Judy (nee Rosenkranz), our daughter Terri, and her husband Jonathan Lazarus, I am pleased that our family will be associated with the current redevelopment and continued financial support, together with the wider Jewish community, in the Holocaust Centre’s vital ongoing educational programs.’

JHC Museum Director Jayne Josem also thanked the Goldmans for their foresight and generosity. ‘We are greatly indebted to the Goldman family for this extraordinary gift and extend our heartfelt thanks to Leon Goldman, his daughter Terri and son-in-law Jonathan Lazarus for their exceptional support of the JHC,’ she said.

A commitment to Jewish life in Melbourne Leon Goldman


am pleased that my daughter Terri, her husband Jonathan Lazarus and I are involved with the rebuilding of the Jewish Holocaust Centre. I was born at the outbreak of the Second World War in Bialystok, Poland. When war broke out, the Soviet army occupied Bialystok. My father, Shaul Goldman, was a leader of the Bund in Poland. As a well-loved leader of the city’s working-class Jews, he was seen as a ‘counterrevolutionary’ and was imprisoned by the Soviet authorities in October 1939. In May 1940, my mother, Esther, was told that he had been taken away, and no trace of him was ever seen again. Due to my father’s political activities, my mother, my brother Isaac and I were to be sent into exile in Siberia. It was the middle of the night, and Isaac was frightened by the soldiers, so he ran away to hide with neighbours. We never saw him again. We have traced that he survived for several years but was murdered by the Nazis in Theresienstadt.

 (l-r) Beyle, Leon and Esther Goldman, 1946

My mother and I, together with my father’s sister, Beyle, spent the war years in Siberia. At the end of the war, we were allowed to return to Bialystok. I was then eight years old. My memories of post-war Bialystok are of a ruined, devastated community, where groups of survivors returned to look for family members who thought they could resume life there again, without realising that everything was gone. Two events have stayed with me and have influenced my life. Thousands of Jews had been murdered and buried in a mass grave and, as a matter of urgency, the returning survivors took upon themselves the arduous task of digging up the bodies and reburying them within a newly built memorial. I also recall the first ghetto commemoration which was held in Bialystok with armed guards surrounding the premises. The message from that function that I will never forget was ‘remember and rebuild’. Since my family arrived in Melbourne, we have been involved in the development and cultivation of Jewish life in the city, especially in youth and cultural events. My daughter Terri was involved in Temple Beth Israel’s Netzer Youth Movement and was Vice-President of AUJS Victoria. Her husband Jonathan was also involved in AUJS and became National Chairperson. Personally, I taught at the Sholem Aleichem Sunday School for over 20 years. Much of my youth was spent as one of the founders and leaders of the SKIF organisation. My late wife Judith was involved in UJEB and AUJS. Her parents, Betty and Shmuel Rosenkranz, and my mother, Esther Albert, set an example for all by their involvement in Jewish Melbourne.

 (inset) Isaac Goldman, c1939

Leon and Esther Goldman, Bialystok, 1946 

JHC Centre News


 (l-r) David Cohen, Sue Hampel OAM, Helen Mahemoff, Leon Goldman, Dr Stephen Smith,

Photo: Rozanna Nazar

Terri Lazarus, Jonathon Lazarus, Pauline Rockman OAM, Jayne Josem and Richard Michaels

Survivor testimony as the final word on the Holocaust Dr

Stephen D Smith OBE gave the keynote address at the Betty and Shmuel Rosenkranz Oration, held in Melbourne in November 2019. The Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation and UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, Dr Smith founded the UK Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire, England and co-founded the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. His address was titled ‘The Courage to Speak: Survivor Testimony as the Final Word on the Holocaust.’ Dr Smith spoke about the power of testimony, presenting a number of case studies of Holocaust survivors. He also told the remarkable story of Armin Wegner, the only person honoured as Righteous Among the Nations who did not save a Jew, but was the only German to protest to Hitler about the introduction of the first anti-Jewish boycott in 1933, and continued to fight against racism and antisemitism for the rest of his life. The short testimony of Hela Goldstein (now Helen Colin), given at Bergen-Belsen in April 1945 was the first audio-visual testimony of the Holocaust. Although Hela later gave a threehour testimony to the Shoah Foundation, Dr Smith described the power of that early testimony, given by a young woman who had been liberated just nine days earlier. ‘She felt compelled to speak out, in spite of her immense fear as she stood, trembling, facing the Nazis who had previously rained terror on the camp. This testimony was extremely courageous.’ As well as highlighting the stories of Holocaust survivors, Dr Smith described the experiences of survivors of other genocides, focusing


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on the testimonies of Rohingya refugees in a refugee camp in Bangladesh in 2017, and a Syrian Kurd in the Bardarash Refugee Camp in Iraq who spoke out on pain of death at the treatment of Kurds by the Turkish army. Dr Smith also spoke about the testimonies that the Shoah Foundation is now collecting to document the firsthand experiences of people experiencing antisemitism today, using the example of the 2015 synagogue attack in Copenhagen, Denmark. Presenting the very different stories of Mette Bentow, a Jewish woman, and Niddal El-Jabiri, a Palestinian, who decided he wanted to connect with the victims, he emphasised the importance of personal stories and the contrast between these stories and what we see in the media. The common theme Dr Smith drew from all these testimonies is that each person had been driven by the importance of documenting what had happened, not just to pass on their memories, but also to use their stories for the betterment of humanity. He noted the incredible insights in the testimonies about family, trust and tenacity and stressed that while they express anger, bitterness and trauma, they never express hatred or revenge. While it was Hitler’s plan to silence Jewish voices, Dr Smith concluded that it is the Holocaust survivors who now have the final word, and urged everyone to listen and learn from the testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Dr Smith’s address can be viewed on the JHC Vimeo channel at https://vimeo.com/374327007

Photo: Rozanna Nazar

Remembering the Holocaust: a personal reflection Jeffrey Rosenfeld  Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld AC OBE


27 January 1945, 75 years ago, Russian soldiers entered Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and liberated 7000 desperate, emaciated prisoners who had miraculously survived the Nazi terror. The Nazis had already forced the majority of Auschwitz prisoners to march westward in ‘death marches’. The construction of four large gas chambers and crematoriums began in Birkenau in 1942. They went into operation between March and June 1943. The Nazis set up thousands of concentration camps. They distinguished slave labour and prison camps from the extermination and death camps, whose primary function was genocide. Auschwitz-Birkenau was a death camp which had the largest death count of all with the murders of 1.1 million people. There have been massacres of people throughout history, but the murder of 6 million Jews was a deliberate, planned elimination of an entire group of people based on their religion, culture and race. The industrial scale of this murder of innocent people was totally unprecedented in history. Other Nazi ‘undesirables’ were murdered in the death camps as well, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war and Gypsies. To put things in perspective, the media describes ‘concentration camps’ where the Chinese Uyghurs are in forced detention. However, these so-called Chinese ‘re-education’ facilities have no equivalence

whatsoever to the Nazi concentration camps, where Jews were enslaved for the Nazi war machine, and many more were murdered by gassing and then incineration. Although my father and his immediate family, and my wife’s family, managed to avoid the Holocaust in Poland and migrated to Australia, I am an eyewitness to genocide and hatred. I was deployed to Rwanda just after the 1995 genocide in which upwards of a million innocent people were massacred, and murder and retribution were occurring. I was a military surgeon and member of the Australian contingent of the UN Peace Keeping Force UNAMIR II which eventually brought peace to that troubled nation. I treated many Rwandan men, women and children with deliberately inflicted machete injuries in an attempt to murder them, and many others with landmine injuries. I have also since deployed to Iraq twice, and witnessed the murderous acts of al-Qaeda and ISIS fanatics. Why has humankind not learnt the lessons of the Holocaust? How could the genocides of Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur and Bosnia have occurred after the horrors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust? I would like to consider the underpinnings of genocide and how we should prevent it from happening again. Racial differentiation and identification, envy, discrimination and irrational hatred are at the core. In Rwanda, the Hutus hated the Tutsis

JHC Centre News


Photo: Rozanna Nazar

 (l-r) Frida Umuhoza, Cheryl Plaut, Hinde Ena Burstin, Anita Kaminsky, Paul Grinwald and Rebecca Forgasz and rose up against them. This hatred had been going on for centuries, just as antisemitism had been going on for centuries in Europe. Antisemitism, the irrational hatred of Jews, was the fundamental basis for the Holocaust and the genocide was highly organised. Jews were loyal citizens and were well integrated into European society, but that made no difference to the Nazis and their collaborators. The Nazis knew where all the Jews lived, and they were often given up to the Nazis by their neighbours and workmates. The Nazis kept detailed records about the Jews. The Hutu Rwandans who perpetrated the genocide against the Tutsis also had lists of where all the Tutsis lived. Dehumanisation of the victim is also a powerful precursor to genocide. The Nazis portrayed the Jews as rats and vermin to be exterminated. The Rwandans portrayed their victims as cockroaches to be stamped out. The victims are also irrationally blamed for deteriorating living standards and financial problems. Hitler and the Nazis scapegoated the Jews as the cause of all of Germany’s economic woes. Somewhat differently in Rwanda, the Tutsis were the upper-class overlords and the Hutus the workers who rose up against their masters. Radio broadcasts were the trigger for the genocide in Rwanda. The Holocaust spread over a much longer period. Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions. - Primo Levi The human brain has the built-in controls to avoid inflicting pain on others. The Nazi SS monsters were psychopaths who did not have these controls. They had no empathy and derived pleasure


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from hurting and witnessing the suffering of others. Hannah Arendt characterised the Nazi functionaries as ‘the banality of evil’. In many cases they were ordinary citizens doing the bidding of Himmler and Hitler, but not always. Adolf Eichmann was an ordinary functionary who helped to organise the genocide, but he was also a psychopath who hated the Jews with a passion. Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s deputy, chaired the infamous Wansee Conference on the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, held in January 1942. Of the 15 Nazis who attended, including Eichmann, amazingly eight held doctorates. They spoke about the logistics of genocide and, according to Eichmann, also about the methods of extermination. Normal SS business! How could Heydrich, a man who appreciated high art and culture and played Mozart and Beethoven on his violin, become such a vile monster overseeing the organisation and execution of the genocide? Because he was a power hungry psychopath who harboured an intense hatred of Jews. As a doctor I must also mention the SS doctors. After the Second World War, the world learned the horrors of German doctors such as Josef Mengele, working in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, selecting Jews for execution and conducting horrific and deadly scientific experiments in which the subjects, particularly children and twins, had no say. The Nuremberg Code was introduced in August 1947 after the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals convicted Nazi doctors of the crimes committed during experiments on concentration camp prisoners. The Nuremberg Code signalled the beginning of modern medical ethics and attempted to give clear rules about what was legal when conducting human experiments. Turning to antisemitism today, it is deeply concerning that antisemitic incidents are increasing internationally and in Australia. The worst incidents are perpetrated by white supremacist neo-Nazis and Islamic extremists inspired by ISIS.

Jews are attacked verbally and physically in the streets, in the synagogue and in their homes. Nazi graffiti is increasingly appearing. Jewish graves are desecrated. A Nazi flag was recently flown with pride in a front garden in country Victoria. In my view, the public display of Nazi symbolism should be banned.

also need to be taught what antisemitism means. As they get older, they also need to be taught what happens when civility breaks down and discrimination, envy and hatred become the guiding forces. This progresses to vandalism, physical violence, murder and, on a mass scale, genocide, with the Holocaust as the centrepiece.

A young Jewish boy was bullied and forced to prostrate himself before a Muslim boy and kiss his feet. These horrific incidents are totally unacceptable. The perpetrators must be identified and brought to justice.

Third, by always calling out antisemitism and racial hatred. It is ordinary citizens standing up against tyrants and calling out racism and bigotry when they see it who are the key to preventing genocide in the future. Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chair of the Anti-Defamation Commission, is a wonderful example. Also important to mention is William Cooper, an Aboriginal man who, on behalf of the Australian Aborigines League, planned to meet the German Consul in Melbourne to protest the ‘cruel persecution’ of the Jewish people on 6 December 1938 and ask that their letter be conveyed to the German Government. This was one of the very few protests against antisemitism at that time and the delegation was refused entry.

More insidious are the attempts to portray Hitler as a figure of ridicule, such as the German novel Look Who’s Back and the recent film based on the novel Caging Skies. To me, this is an unacceptable recasting of history and Hitler’s character should not be re-imagined or placed in a more positive light. He will forever remain an evil monster. Fortunately, in Australia most citizens are intolerant of racists and bigots. The more antisemitism there is, the stronger is the resolve of the Jewish people to defend themselves and the stronger burns the flame of the Jewish faith. ‘Never again’ is what we say every year. But how can we prevent a future Auschwitz? Indeed, how can we prevent antisemitism and racial hatred, the precursors to genocide?

“ The more antisemitism there is, the stronger is the resolve of the Jewish people to defend themselves and the stronger burns the flame of the Jewish faith.

“ First, by remembering the unprecedented, despicable and depraved crimes perpetrated by Hitler, the SS and the Nazis, and by remembering the Holocaust and the six million Jews who were murdered. Second, by educating young people around the world about the Holocaust. In 2017, 40 percent of 14-year-olds in Germany did not know what Auschwitz was. A 2018 a survey found that 66% of the American millennials (and 41% of all American adults) did not know what Auschwitz was. I wonder what the figures would be in Australia. Just as children are taught the ‘3 Rs’, they should also be taught good citizenship and the need for tolerance and respect for all races, religions and creeds. Living in a multicultural society such as ours helps to inculcate a good community spirit in most children, but they

Fourth and finally, by having a committed police force and strong legal framework to bring perpetrators to justice so that others are educated and hopefully deterred from repeating the same crimes. Although many key Nazi war criminals were brought to justice, others escaped. The International Criminal Court of Justice and the International War Crimes Tribunal were established so that war criminals of the future can be tried, prosecuted and punished. Justice and deterrence are strong weapons to prevent future genocide. Hitler envisaged the Third Reich to be like a new Roman Empire which would rule the world, but the Allies, including Australia and New Zealand, ensured that Nazism was destroyed. The Jewish people survived and now thrive in Israel and the diaspora. May it be so for ever more. Let us all remember the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, those innocents who died in the gas chambers in Auschwitz and other death camps, those who were enslaved, worked and beaten to death, those who were tortured, summarily shot, subjected to sadistic medical experiments, and those women and their babies who were brutally murdered. On the brighter side let us also celebrate those who survived, eventually married and had large extended families. Many of these families thrived in Australia. It is of great historical importance that many of them recorded their experiences for posterity. In the words of Primo Levi, ‘Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea.’ We cannot allow genocide to ever happen again. Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld AC, OBE is Senior Neurosurgeon, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Professor of Surgery, Monash University, Major General (Rtd) and a former Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force Reserves. This is an edited version of the keynote address he gave at the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration held in Melbourne in January 2020.

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Memories of the liberation of Auschwitz Eva Slonim


years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we survivors keep the memory alive every day of our lives in our daily activities and in our sleep. For us it has been 75 years of coping, of reliving, of asking why, why, why, and finally, why me? Why did I survive, riddled with guilt? It is incumbent on me as one of the last witnesses to the Holocaust to recount, to document, to bear witness to every facet of the greatest loss, suffering and tragedy that befell the Jewish People. To this end, I want to express my gratitude to the Jewish Holocaust Centre for its outstanding dedication in keeping the memory alive, and to the second and third generations for fulfilling and perpetuating the dying wish of men, women and children who with their last breath whispered ‘tell the world’. These holy skeletons on the threshold of death were concerned about the effect this tragedy would have on future generations, knowing well that they would not be part of that world. What generosity of spirit, what nobility. Sadly, there is a resurgence of antisemitism throughout Europe ,as we have witnessed in France, Sweden, Germany, England, Denmark and also the USA. All this still in our lifetime. Still in our lifetime revisionists are trying to rewrite history. In the documentary of the liberation of children in Auschwitz in which I appear, the symbol of ‘Jew’ that was affixed to the left side of our specially given uniform was replaced with ‘Polsky’ – Polish. What a distortion, what a lie when Auschwitz was primarily a Jewish tragedy unprecedented in the annals of history; a sophisticated machinery set up for the sole purpose of annihilating in the most brutal and pre-meditated way the whole of European Jewry. In the first days of January 1945, hard pressed by the advancing Red Army, the SS hastily evacuated tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners under frightful conditions from Birkenau and Auschwitz to German labour camps. Their overriding principle and the cruel reality was that, in spite of their imminent defeat, their foremost priority was that not a single man, woman or child should live to tell world of the inexhaustible fount of evil the supposedly most cultured people inflicted on its innocent and unsuspecting victims. The rapidity of the Red Army’s advance forced the SS to leave their task unfinished and that is how I survived. On 18 January the SS ordered the whole camp to be evacuated. Rumours were that whoever remained would be killed. Even though I was sick, I ran away from hospital and presented for selection. I did not pass the test, but my will to live was so strong that in the overwhelming chaos I went, together with my sister Marta, to the


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 Eva Slonim OAM

Photo: Rozanna Nazar

back of the line and presented again. This time we passed selection for the march, which we believed would lead us to freedom. I fought with all my might not to succumb now when freedom was in my grasp. Yet I was so very weak, plagued by unrelenting dysentery and typhus, that I finally surrendered and returned to camp, fully aware of the fate that awaited me. We were locked in the barracks by the SS behind the electrified barbed wire fences. They then set the hospital and surrounding barracks on fire, which rapidly advanced in our direction, but a heavy downpour of snow miraculously extinguished the fire. These snowflakes, were the neshamot (souls) descending from heaven to save us. We now realised that the Germans had left and we were on our own. Those who were well enough raided the food and clothes storages. Many died of overeating.

 (l-r) Eva Slonim OAM, Benjamin Slonim OAM, Frida Umuhoza and Sue Hampel OAM

Photo: Rozanna Nazar

A few days later, to our horror, the SS returned. We were ordered once again at gunpoint to line up to go with them as they retreated. We had to march, walk or run at the whim of the SS. Those who could not keep up were shot.

after some matzot reached Auschwitz, I grabbed a little piece and with great excitement ran as fast as I could – actually not so fast – to him, but I was too late. Mr Frankl was cold and stiff, his eyes staring into the distance.

My emotions were numbed as we walked in deep blood-drenched snow at -7 degrees C. When we reached Auschwitz from Birkenau, three kilometres away, we saw hand-to-hand fighting between the Russians, who wore white camouflaged clothing, and the Germans. Suddenly the fighting stopped. The Russians ordered the SS to line up and told us that we could do whatever we liked to them. You should have seen those big heroes who had no heart for us children, who had killed in cold blood, but were now begging for mercy. Trembling with fear, those same soldiers who had shot the feeble, the sick, the scared and the children, those cowards now begged for mercy. No one touched them.

In the children’s barrack we spoke every night of home, of food, of memories, otherwise we would not have have been able to survive the torture we had to face the next day.

So the war was over and those who had managed to stay alive through hiding, humiliation, torture and depravity were free. We were overwhelmed and speechless, as were our liberators, obviously for different reasons. The freedom we had anticipated and for which we had struggled so hard was an illusion. Face to face with liberty we felt lost, emptied and perplexed. No one waited for us children, no parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, there were no celebrations. Instead after medical examination I was hospitalised. I was given blood transfusions and other treatment. I was back in bunks, surrounded by authority and uniform. The conditions in hospital were appalling. Patients were screaming, dying all over the place, some violently, others resigned and too weak to protest. There was one Jewish prisoner from Bratislava, a Mr Frankl, who refused his bread portion, as he claimed that it was Pesach. Shortly

We wrote a song to the tune of Hatikvah, as most of the twins were from Hungary. Loosely translated it goes like this: In this huge world of the camp chased out of his barracks, the tired, sleepy, sluggish child tears streaming down his face, standing in the pouring rain cold, shivering and drenched, for Zehlapel the unfortunate stands, hours in the cold. Be happy and rejoice handsome Jewish worker, soon all this will come to an end. The great day of liberation is approaching and all the Jewish suffering will forever end. To our beautiful homes we will return, embrace our parents and all we have not seen for so long. There will be a table full of plenty toys, dresses, dolls, sweets and nothing will ever go wrong!

Together once again we stand tall as proud Jews and swear until death that we will never deny that we are Jews. Am Ysrael Chai, the People of Israel live! Eva Slonim OAM is Holocaust survivor who lives in Melbourne, Australia. This is an edited version of her address at the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration held in Melbourne in January 2020.

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Generously supporting the JHC’s mission The

generosity of donors to the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) is essential in enabling the JHC to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and to implement its education program to combat antisemitism, racism and prejudice. Now, as we are embarking on a major redevelopment, we are receiving an extraordinary response to our call to create a world-class facility for the whole community. We are so appreciative of this outstanding support , and so touched by the stories of our donors and why they are committed to our mission. Over the next few editions of Centre News, we will be highlighting some of our donors – their backgrounds and reasons for choosing to support the Centre. The stories of the Melzak and Besen families are the first in this series.

Marc Besen AO and Eva Besen AO

The family business began with a single Sussan store in Little Collins Street, Melbourne, opened in 1939 by Eva’s mother, Fay Gandel, when she was 11 years old. In 1947, Marc arrived in Australia on a study visa and Eva and Marc married in 1950. Their Family Foundation makes grants each year to projects in Israel, and to Australian organisations that provide support to those in need in Australia, as well as a range of artistic endeavours. Today, as the Foundation celebrates its 40th anniversary, all three generations of the family are involved in its work and come together to discuss social issues of concern, their causes and the means by which the Foundation might address them.

Besen Family Foundation: 40 years of philanthropy Forty years ago, Eva and Marc Besen established the Besen Family Foundation to structure and build upon their philanthropy in Australia and Israel. Their motivation was to give back to the community that had provided them with the opportunities they have enjoyed throughout their working lives.


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Central to the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Grants Program was the decision to support the redevelopment of the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) by dedicating the Gallery of the Permanent Exhibition. The Besen family have been long-term supporters of the JHC and its mission, and Eva and Marc are patrons of the JHC Foundation. For Eva and Marc, supporting the new museum is an important way to keep the stories of the survivors of the Holocaust alive and try to prevent such atrocities being repeated. The museum not only stands as a sign of respect for the voices of survivors but is also a tangible educational resource to promote tolerance and compassion and inspire courage to stand up to discrimination in all its forms. The 40th anniversary has been an opportunity to reflect on the Besen family’s philanthropy over four decades. Three of Eva and Marc’s granddaughters sat down with Marc to record his memories of arriving in Australia and what informed his and Eva’s strong work ethic, success, generous spirit and desire to give back to the community.

Marc reflected on his experience escaping Europe in the 1940s during a time of great upheaval and persecution and how, having arrived safely in Australia, it set the path for him wanting to share his fortunate position and care for those in need of help. Marc recounted the story of his first gift to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) towards education and environmental programs in Israel; his and Eva’s love of the arts in Australia which culminated in their creation of the TarraWarra Museum of Art; and his belief that the challenge for the Foundation looking ahead is to continue to meaningfully advance health and education initiatives, the protection of the environment, and promote a just, fair and compassionate community. Reflecting on the family’s support of the JHC redevelopment, Debbie Dadon, the Foundation’s Chair and Eva and Marc’s daughter, noted: ‘The new gallery will house the exhibition that links the past with the future, to honour the experience of the survivors of the Holocaust while tackling intolerance and inspiring compassion and understanding.’

Richard Melzak, 1944

Richard arrived at the home of his maternal aunt and cousin, Ala, to find that Yurek was missing, believed killed by German bombs during the invasion of the Soviet Union. Richard was fostered by the Christian Olshevski family, and assumed the identity of a Polish Christian refugee orphan.

He saw the establishment of the Vilnius Ghetto and witnessed his relatives being marched there. In 1943, while living with the Olshevskis, he was suspected of being Jewish and arrested by the Gestapo, but he managed to convince his interrogators that he was Christian. As it was too dangerous for him to stay in Vilnius after his release, he joined the Armia Krajowa (Polish Resistance Forces) and lived in the forests outside Vilnius. His unit was liberated by the Red Army in July 1944. Richard’s unit was captured and its members interned as political prisoners. When they were put on a train to be deported to a Soviet Gulag, Richard escaped with two comrades and returned to Vilnius. He then journeyed to Bialystok, was reunited with Ala, and joined a new Armia Krajowa unit. He was honourably discharged in December 1944.

(l-r) Margot, James and Devon Melzak, 2017

Richard Melzak: keeping the flame alive Richard was born in Warsaw in 1928 to Vicek and Guta (nee Zylberzlak) Melzak. He was the younger brother of Yurek and Fela. Guta died in 1933. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Yurek fled to Vilnius. He was 21 years old. One year later, Richard was interned in the Warsaw Ghetto with his family. Vicek died there in 1942 from a stressinduced heart attack. From the outset, Richard became involved in smuggling food, regularly leaving and returning to the ghetto. In May 1941, at the age of 12, he spontaneously decided to escape and trek to Vilnius to reunite with Yurek. The 500 km journey took him two months on foot.

Fela had escaped from the ghetto in 1943 but was unable to survive outside, so Richard was now alone. Returning to Warsaw, he found that the area in which he had lived was completely destroyed. Retaining his false identity to avoid the antisemitism that was still rife in Poland, he made his way to Gdansk where he was reunited with the Olshevskis and Ala. As he was re-establishing his life, he was detained by the Urzad Bezpieczenstwa (Polish Secret Police). As they had found out that he was Jewish, they insisted he work as their undercover agent. Unable to betray his friends, he decided to leave Poland permanently. He smuggled himself across Poland through Krakow and Nowy Sacz and, with the help of mountain guides, reached Czechoslovakia. This difficult journey continued through Bratislava, Vienna, Munich, Strasbourg and to Paris. With the support of Jewish refugee organisations, he obtained fresh papers confirming his true identity. Ala, who had migrated to Australia, sponsored him and he boarded the Ville D’Amiens for Melbourne. Richard embraced life to the fullest, never forgetting those he had lost and the hardships he endured. He became involved in the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) and he and his wife Margot commissioned the Eternal Flame at its entrance, dedicated to the memory of their family and friends who had been murdered in the Holocaust.

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Where shall I go? Jewish Displaced Persons in post-war Italy Chiara Renzo

 Melbourne Holocaust survivors Moshe Fiszman (far left), his wife Franka (3rd from left) and friends in the DP Camp in Sant Maria di Leuca, Italy, 1948


of Jewish refugees ended up in Italy after the Holocaust. There were two waves of Jewish migration to Italy. The first began in the 1930s, when German, Austrian, Czechoslovakian and Yugoslav Jews chose Italy as a place of refuge in order to escape the antisemitic policies in their countries. They are known as ‘old refugees’, interned as ‘enemy aliens’ in concentration camps or in confino libero (house arrest, literally ‘free imprisonment’) when Italy joined the Second World War in 1940. The ‘old refugees’ also included those non-Italian Jews who were deported and interned in Italy as a result of the Fascist policy in Italian-occupied territories before 1943. When the Allies liberated the southern regions of Italy in 1943, there were around 5,000-6,000 Jews in need of international assistance who were temporarily accommodated in refugee camps. After the war, another wave of Jewish migrants arrived in Italy – mainly concentration camp survivors, or people who had


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survived using false identities or in hiding. Most were Eastern European Jews, mainly from Poland, who had attempted to go back home, but were forced to move again because of the fear of antisemitism, and the difficulty of finding family members and getting their properties back. At the end of the war, Italy became the main waystation for Jewish survivors who wished to leave Europe. Between 1945 and 1948, an average of 16,000 Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) per year lived in the refugee camps of Italy. Many international actors were gradually involved in their rescue and rehabilitation. As victims of persecution, almost all came under the mandate of the UN refugee agencies: the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (1945-1947) and the International Refugee Organisation (1947-1951). Nevertheless, only the beginning of the mission of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) significantly ameliorated the living conditions of the Jewish DPs in Italy.

many challenges, including amongst other things, anxiety for what the future held, overcrowding, the black market, precarious sanitary conditions and lack of food. Drawing on the newly emerging ideals of international humanitarianism, organisations took an innovative approach to the refugee crisis that combined immediate relief actions with long-term physical, moral, social, cultural and educational rehabilitation projects, in order to guide DPs towards ‘normalisation’. Schools for children, vocational training for adults, sport, cultural and recreational activities were organised and supported by UN refugee agencies and Jewish organisations, with the active participation of committees representing the Jewish DPs. Due to the permeating presence of Zionist emissaries from the Yishuv, many of these activities assumed a Zionist orientation and aimed at the final resettlement of the Jewish DPs in Eretz Israel.

 Dr Chiara Renzo

Jewish soldiers serving as volunteers in the Allied Army played a significant role in the lives of the DPs. Their meeting with the first core of 2,000 Jews liberated in the concentration camps of Ferramonti di Tarsia in Calabria, Southern Italy, represented the first contact between survivors and the Yishuv (Jewish settlement in British Mandate Palestine). The so-called Palestinian Unites – which at the end of 1944 organised themselves into the Jewish Brigade – had been the first to help the Jewish DPs while the war was still going on. They made every effort to provide food, clothes and medical care and established the first aid organisation specifically for them in Bari, in Puglia: the Merkaz Ha-Plitim (Central Committee of Liberated Jews), which later changed its name in Merkaz La-Golah (Centre for the Diaspora) and moved to Rome. The Jewish soldiers proposed emigration to Palestine as the best solution for the survivors, and encouraged them to join the hachsharot, collective farms set up near the refugee camps where the Jewish DPs could receive practical and ideological training for living in Eretz Israel. In parallel, the Mossad le-Aliyah Bet began organising its underground headquarters in liberated Italy, with the purpose of bringing Jewish DPs illegally to Palestine to bypass the limits on immigration imposed by the British Mandate. The network of rescue organisations requisitioned different types of buildings and established clusters of refugee camps all over the country. The first refugee camp for Jews was the former concentration camp of Ferramonti, but soon the Allied Army established dozens of refugee camps in Puglia which hosted thousands of Jews. They were housed in shacks in Bari and in villas in the resort villages of Santa Maria al Bagno, Santa Maria di Leuca, Santa Cesarea Terme and Tricase Porto. Other Jewish DPs lived in the refugee camp of Cinecittà, the Italian film studios, close to Rome; a number of Jewish children lived in a former boarding school for Fascist youth in Selvino, close to Milan; and other Jewish survivors stayed in abandoned barracks or a former monastery in Cremona. Collective life in the refugee camps was not easy. The rescue organisations played a very important role and the DPs were determined to build a new life. However, they were faced with

Drawing on the newly emerging ideals of international humanitarianism, organisations took an innovative approach to the refugee crisis that combined immediate relief actions with long-term physical, moral, social, cultural and educational rehabilitation projects, in order to guide DPs towards ‘normalisation’.

“ Stuck in these sites of transit, struggling between their traumatic past and the desire to start a new life, the Jewish DPs in Italy became the protagonists of a story of rebirth and hope. Despite different political affiliations and preferences for where they wished to live, home and family became their priorities. Although they had suffered enormous loss during the war, and the DP camps were not always easy, many refugees found a sense of family in the collective life of the refugee camps, married and had children there. Dr Chiara Renzo is a postdoctoral research fellow in Jewish History, Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy. This is an edited version of a lecture she gave at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in June 2019.

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Lyndhurst Holocaust Memorial consecration Tell your children about it, And let your children tell theirs, And their children the next generation (Yoel: Chapter 1; Verse 3) Internationally renowned contemporary artist, Andrew Rogers, has sourced a Holocaust memorial to provide a place of gathering, remembrance and reflection for now and for future generations. Located at the Melbourne Chevra Kadisha Lyndhurst Cemetery, the memorial was consecrated in November 2019. Andrew Rogers provides the rationale for this imposing work in his artist’s statement. He writes: Our responsibility is that future generations of engaged people hold society to account. This giant stone is about this commitment being unforgettable. It is to remind people of the fragility of society and to honour the millions murdered during the Holocaust. It is to provide people with a fulcrum for self-reflection. It is an immersive object about slowing down in order to see and understand more clearly. It is a contrast to the normal. It is about the unexpected. It is a symbol to assist memory. Our tradition is that we honour an individual by placing a stone on their grave For me it is not about the object, it is about the idea. Szaja Chaskiel, Holocaust survivor and Buchenwald Boy, reflected on his life as a survivor and the importance of the memorial at the commemoration. He said: I was 10 years old, living in Wielun when the Nazis invaded Poland. Wielun was one of the first towns the Nazis stormed into. Jewish children were no longer allowed to attend school and this was the end of my three years of education. The first terrible thing that happened that I remember that we saw with our own eyes was our father being shot dead by a Nazi. They wanted to make an example and hang 10 Jews in the Market Square just for being Jewish. They demanded my father hang his uncle, but dad refused, so they shot him. It was winter and my mother, my little brother and sister and I had to wheel his body to the cemetery and bury him ourselves. There was no


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 (l-r) The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP and Andrew Rogers minyan to say Kaddish for him and no grave that we can visit. Soon after, when I was 11 years old, I was taken away to slave labour, building roads for the Nazi regime in Poznan. I managed to run away and somehow got back home to Wielun. By the time I arrived home, the neighbours told me that my mum and little brother and sister had been taken away. They most likely perished in one of the mobile gas trucks. No minyan to say Kaddish for them and no graves to visit. I knew my two big sisters – one married – were in Lodz and I somehow managed, after many months of hiding, to get myself there, hitchhiking all the way. There I found out that all the Jews were in the Lodz Ghetto. I could not wait to go there, just so I could be with my own people and hear Yiddish again, not knowing yet about the horrors, the murder and the starvation there. My married sister and her baby were taken to Auschwitz where they perished. No minyan to say Kaddish for them and no graves to visit. My other sister and I worked hard in the ghetto for three years. We were told that the ghetto was being liquidated. Although

we had an opportunity to hide, my sister believed that we would have a better life outside the ghetto, with real jobs. I listened to her and we both ended up in Auschwitz-Birkenau for six months. By then I was 15 years old. I don’t need to tell you of the horrors in Auschwitz as you know them already. In December 1944, when the Russians were heading towards Auschwitz, we were sent, in the snow, on a death march. Freezing cold and starving, with no shoes or coats, we ate snow to survive, but many did not survive. No Kaddish said for them and no graves to visit. Eventually we got to Buchenwald Concentration Camp where I remained until 11 April 1945. The Americans liberated us at 3:15pm on that day, which I will never forget. To this day, it amazes me that I survived, but my parents, big sister, little sister and little brother did not. I was not well or strong, and was sent to Switzerland for medical treatment. I was also taught to be a mechanic. Five years after the war ended, together with my friends from Buchenwald, we found a new life in Australia, where we became known as the Buchenwald Boys. I met my dear wife Rosie in Melbourne and lost her 15 years ago. We had two children, and I now have five grandchildren, four great grandchildren and a beautiful life. If anyone would have told me in 1945 that this is how things would turn out for me, I would have thought they were mad. This monument provides a place for all of us where we, and future generations, can visit, remember, say Kaddish and leave a stone for our loved ones for whom Kaddish could not be said, and who never had graves to visit and leave a stone.

Henri Korn and family

Mazal tov to Henri Korn Mazal tov to Henri Korn on his 90th birthday! Henri is a dedicated Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) survivor guide who has shared his testimony with hundreds of school students and other visitors to the Centre. The testimonial of a Year 11 student at Woodleigh School after hearing Henri’s address to the school is a fitting tribute. He wrote: I was moved by your incredible story, it was such a powerful and, I must say too, scary story ... Only until I heard similar stories to yours at the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Elsternwick did I realise the enormity of the issue and the messages about tolerance, acceptance, peace and love.

Become a Partner in Remembrance Phillip Maisel Testimonies Project The Jewish Holocaust Centre has over 1,300 video testimonies as well as over 200 audio testimonies in its collection. These provide eyewitness accounts of the horrors of the Holocaust, as well as glimpses into the vibrancy of pre-war Jewish life in Europe. The collection is widely used by researchers and students of oral history, the Holocaust and a variety of other disciplines. If you would like to give your testimony or know of someone who is interested in giving a testimony, contact Phillip Maisel. Phone (03) 9528 1985 or email testimonies@jhc.org.au

The Jewish Holocaust Centre Foundation ensures the continued existence of the Centre and supports its important work. Funds raised through the Foundation are invested, with the earnings providing an ongoing source of income for the Centre to support its operations and programs into the future. For more information on how you can help support the Foundation and how your support will be recognised, please contact Helen Mahemoff, Chair of the Foundation on 0417 323 595 or email jhcfoundation@bigpond.com

Judy & Leon Goldman Centre for Holocaust Education

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Religious diversity and tolerance in Germany Anna Hirsh


November 2019, Anna Hirsh, invited by the German Embassy in Australia, joined an international delegation as part of a week-long Visitors’ Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, entitled ‘Religious Diversity and Tolerance in Germany’. Eighteen Christian, Muslim and Jewish representatives were invited by the German Foreign Office to five days of seminars coordinated and hosted by the European Academy Berlin (EAB). Guided by the EAB’s Marcus Hornung, the group convened in Berlin, then travelled to Munster and Frankfurt. Participants heard presentations from academics, politicians, religious leaders, and community representatives. Sessions and site visits that addressed antisemitism were of practical relevance to the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC), and the program was a unique opportunity to establish wider international interfaith links. My sixth visit to Germany proved significantly different from my usual immersion in Holocaust and wider history, art and culture via museums and sites, but was of immense value to the JHC, my work in the archives and academic research, and for future collaborations. The focus was on multicultural life within contemporary Germany and, over the five days, I gained profound insight into the formal

 International delegates on the rooftop of the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin


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structures of government policies. Prominent leaders discussed the crucial issues of assimilation, integration, and racial divisions. Other seminars focused on education to counter extremism, and the influence of religion in society and for individuals. The legal protection of all citizens including minorities is a legacy of the country addressing its past, including post-Nazism and post-reunification eras. Australia and Germany are both vibrant multicultural, modern democracies that face parallel issues. For both, as for other democratic nations, implementing and reinforcing federal policies that ensure equal rights, as well as penalties for lawbreakers, are critical. As racism, including antisemitism, is a human rights issue, citizens are under a national legal framework to protect these civil rights. But democracy itself remains fragile; as the world has witnessed in the past and present, the election of murderous autocrats has destroyed democracy, and the rise of politically extreme parties is always a threat. Last year was a grim year, with an increase in antisemitic violence in western democracies. In Halle, 170km south-west of Berlin, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, barricaded doors on the synagogue averted a massacre. Sadly, over 50% of German’s

Turkish man, Aycan Demirel, it educates on issues of immigration and cultural identity, and focuses on dispelling racist tropes, also within the immigrant community. Through school visits and seminars for teachers, Kiga instructs on the history of antisemitism, the Holocaust and current conflicts including Israel-Palestine. This bravely addresses difficult topics that are often put aside. One of the most compelling presentations was delivered on the final day at the Anne Frank Centre in Frankfurt. To paraphrase Rabbi Avichai Apel, Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt’s eloquent address: ‘Judaism is not an evangelical religion. We respect the right of other religions to practise in peace, and in return, we ask for the same.’ This succinctly encapsulates how mutual respect is the essence of healing and humanitarianism: to understand and empathise, but crucially, to view difference amongst human beings as a positive essence of humanity, that the world contains a kaleidoscope of philosophies, traditions, and cultures.

 Banner in a bank in Munich which reads: Wir sind froh über jede Synagoge über jede jüdische Gemeinde und über alles jüdische Leben in unserem land – Budeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (We are happy about every Jewish synagogue, about every Jewish community and about every Jewish life in our country – Chancellor Angela Merkel)

Jews were polled in the last year as having experienced antisemitic prejudice. The steady resurgence of antisemitism is underpinned by a long tradition of sinister mythologies, and the sheer variety of tropes embedded within the ‘oldest hatred’ lend to a mutability that is adaptable all along the political spectrum. Social media captures the anger of those feeling marginalised and disseminates their hatred, the digital-age version of Mark Twain’s ‘a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoe’. It is disturbing how conspiracy theories are more readily believed than primary-source based evidence. While the Jewish presence in Germany is only 0.2% of the population, the over-10% presence of Muslim and Middle East and North of Africa (MENA) refugees and immigrants also face prejudice, including discrimination based on clothing and appearance. The emphasis on education from childhood is a recurring approach, but the values of tolerance need to be maintained. Many from immigrant backgrounds in Germany are not immune from holding prejudices, often against Jewish people, and this reality should not be overlooked. While each session was informative, the Jewish-focused site visits and sessions were of particular resonance to my work at the JHC, and reinforced how the legacy of the Holocaust calls for active societal and individual vigilance against bigotry. A tour of the Oranienberger Strasse Synagogue in Mitte, Berlin, revealed the remnants of its bombed nave to our group. We stopped to view Stolpersteine, artist Gunter Demnig’s project of brass engraved stumbling stones set into various footpaths to memorialise individual murdered Jews, illuminating losses on a personal level. Kiga (Die Kreuzberger Initiative gegen Antisemitismus) is a grassroots outreach program in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Established by a German-

Meetings with government officials were of crucial importance. It was a privilege to visit the Foreign Office in Berlin, where we were hosted by Irmgard Maria Fellner, Director for Cultural Relations Policy and Deputy Head of the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication. The discussion centred on the formalities of government policy as the foundational structure for German society, a legal framework to form the basis of rights and equality. At the Hessen Ministry of Culture a few days later, presentations focused on policies including school education. The entire program delivered invaluable insight into Germany’s approach to multicultural issues and racism, from the policy makers to individuals motivated to contribute to positive changes in society which act as a buffer against attrition. But essentialist views are not limited to the uneducated; strong cultural shifts are often needed to reverse stereotypes taught in childhood, along with more interfaith dialogue to strengthen relationships, cultural collaborations, demystification and reversing centuries-old misconceptions and dogmatic othering. Although Nazism was voted into parliament in 1933, its origins date back much earlier, with Hitler’s speech on the balcony of Berlin’s Lustgarden taking place in February 1920. Constant rallying throughout Germany in the 1920s united small, disenfranchised groups and individuals to their ideology. This process of steady, negative erosion has sadly reappeared, and it is incumbent on the majority to stand up against it. As the Jewish Holocaust Centre moves towards its redevelopment, education remains crucial. Historical evidence is the basis of understanding the motivations of totalitarian regimes such as the Nazis. The strength of government policy provides the foundation, and intra- and interfaith connections between community leaders, organisations and individuals will reinforce the foundations that a moral, creative and constructive society requires to operate. Dr Anna Hirsh is JHC Senior Archivist. She expresses her gratitude to the German Embassy in Canberra: Dr Thomas Fitschen, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Jens Hoch, Head of Culture and Press; and to Marcus Hornung, and Tom Gohring and the team at the European Academy Berlin.

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IHRA meets in Luxembourg Pauline Rockman and Sue Hampel

Sue Hampel OAM and Professor Yehuda Bauer

Antisemitism is a cancer that eats the societies in which it grows and destroys them. Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem. Antisemitism is a problem for all societies. Professor Yehuda Bauer, IHRA Honorary Chairman


December 2019, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) convened in cold and snowy Luxembourg City. This plenary meeting brought together over 200 experts and policymakers from the organisations that make up the IHRA to discuss efforts in the field of Holocaust research, remembrance and education. Now that Australia is officially a member country, the Australian delegation has been given extra roles and responsibilities. Pauline Rockman and Sue Hampel attended meetings, seminars and a fascinating exhibition on Aristides de Sousa Mendes at the National Archives. Pauline presented a paper to the Memorial and Museum Working Group (MMWG) about ‘Walk With Me’, the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s VR project that takes the viewer on a journey through the landscape of Holocaust survivor guide Szaja Chaskiel’s memories. Sue was appointed as the next International Chair of the IHRA Education Working Group, the first time that Australia has been represented in a leadership position at IHRA. There were many highlights at this plenary, including the inspiring speech of Professor Yehuda Bauer where he urged member countries to tackle the issue of rising antisemitism, which he described as a ‘cancer that destroys the societies in which it grows.’ Other important developments included the adoption of


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Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust, published in partnership with UNESCO. These recommendations have been crafted to help educators and teachers with fact-based and educationally sound techniques for teaching the complex and nuanced history of the Holocaust. The publication – which is aimed at policymakers, textbook editors, curriculum planners, school administrators, as well as educators and teachers – provides compelling reasons for including the Holocaust in education, gives practical guidance in the search and selection of appropriate sources, and makes it easy to bring curriculums in line with the latest research. This year is an important one for the IHRA. Last year heads of IHRA Member Countries reached an agreement on a message that was issued in January 2020, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It also marked the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration, the founding document of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which continues to serve as an ongoing affirmation of each IHRA member country’s commitment to shared principles. Pauline Rockman OAM and Sue Hampel OAM are co-presidents of the Jewish Holocaust Centre and members of the IHRA Australian delegation.

A new museum, a new vision The

curatorial team at the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) has the task of creating two new permanent exhibitions for our reimagined museum. The overarching aims for both displays are to honour the founding survivors, provide a meaningful educational experience and continue to be relevant to future generations. The new Centre will include an expanded permanent museum that interweaves the main themes and chronology of the Holocaust with precious objects, significant documents and survivor testimonies. Visitors will be touched by individual stories while grappling with the more existential questions of how and why this murderous campaign was planned and tolerated. The second permanent exhibition will be a specialised museum for younger visitors focusing on the stories of children who survived the Holocaust by hiding, both physically and regarding identity. The concept for this museum is based on our well-regarded Hide and Seek program, funded by Gandel Philanthropy, which aims to introduce students aged 10-14 years old to the Holocaust in a safe and meaningful way. The curators are working closely with Thylacine, the museum designers, to create immersive environments that will convey the complex issues that emerged during one of humanity’s darkest

SANDY SAXON is the Senior Curator. Her previous curatorial experience at the Jewish Museum of Australia and in contemporary art spaces and public galleries informs her approach to this new museum display. It is Sandy’s role to select all collection items, graphics and text, to oversee object loans and artist commissions and to work collaboratively to create content for all multimedia. She is also working closely with the JHC Museum Director and the museum designers to develop the visual and structural components of the individual exhibition spaces. Sandy’s focus is to present a cohesive display that will engage and move the first-time visitor, while also offering deeper insights and new experiences for the returning visitor.

 (l-r) Gavan O’Connor, Sandy Saxon and Jennifer Levitt Maxwell times. Arek Dybel, the museum’s multimedia supervisor (and former Creative Director of Audiovisual Content at Polin Museum, Warsaw), is assisting in developing and sourcing content for the multimedia installations. If you would like any further information about the JHC museum redevelopment, please contact Sandy Saxon, JHC Museum Senior Curator, on (03) 9528 1985 or sandys@jhc.org.au

JENNIFER LEVITT MAXWELL is the Centre’s Education Engagement Manager and Curator of the Children’s Museum. She has a unique background bringing together traditional education in the classroom, award-winning museum exhibitions, digital media activations for brands and non-profits, as well as building two successful businesses. Jennifer brings her expertise in Holocaust education and curatorial practice to the development of the Children’s Museum. This Museum will lead with our survivor stories alongside carefully curated immersive environments. This means Jennifer is taking a non-traditional approach to the curation utilising a variety of storytelling techniques. She is also bringing artists and set designers early into the development to allow for a oneof-a-kind immersive experience.

GAVAN O’CONNOR is the Assistant Curator for the Museum Redevelopment Project. He brings many years of journalistic expertise and museum qualifications to bear on the problems involved in presenting information in a manner that is engaging, concise, informative and, above all, accurate. Gavan provides research support to the curatorial team, be that searching the internet for reliable sources of information or sifting through the Centre’s archive for pertinent objects and documents, while simultaneously teasing out the stories they reveal. At the centre of his curatorial job is the asking of questions: Why did the Nazis do this? What were the experiences of survivors? And on a day-to-day basis: Have we seen this picture? Do we know this story? Can we include these details? These are all questions presented to the curatorial group.

JHC Centre News


Recent acquisitions We

continue to receive rare and historically powerful additions to our collection. These are new additions from July – December 2019. We are so appreciative of these donations, particularly with their Melbourne connections, which makes the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC) Collection unique. Thank you to our donors of artefacts and funding for your generosity. We welcome donations of original Holocaust artefacts, including the donation of originals where copies were previously donated to the Centre. We also ask for your assistance with the historical details, as these are the crucial foundations to the documentation process. Please contact JHC Senior Archivist, Dr Anna Hirsh, to make an appointment: annah@jhc.org.au

Hugo & Ilse Bauer Collection Four identification cards belonging to Hugo and Ilse Bauer and family, who fled Nazi Germany for South Africa in the mid to late 1930s. Donated by granddaughter Teri Bauer

Hania Grunis Collection Woodcut of funeral procession of Galician Jews by W Grabowski, printed by Jan Krajewski, c. late 19th century. Donated by Hania Grunis

Elizabeth & Matheau Julicher Collection

incarceration in concentration camps including Mauthausen during the Holocaust. Donated by daughter Anna Rosenblum and family.

Gusta & Benjamin Rubinfeld Collection Photographs and two jackets sewn by Gusta Wiesenfeld (later Rubinfeld) (1919-2002) soon after liberation from Auschwitz, using ex-military fabric. Gusta returned to her hometown Krakow after the war, where she met fellow survivor Beniamin Rubinfeld (1911-1987). The couple were later owners of Monarch Cakes in Acland Street St Kilda. Donated by daughter Rachelle Cohen and family.

A beautiful painting, donated in honour of Elizabeth and Matheau Julicher, members of the Dutch Resistance who hid Jewish people on their property near the German border. We welcome information from anyone assisted by the couple.

A collection of documents, a wooden travel crate and a Red Cross milk jug belonging to Antoni and Anna Szwostek. Anna (nee Bojko) was Jewish, and survived labour camps. She met and married Antoni Szwostek in a DP camp. They migrated to Australia with their daughter.

Mohr & Lenke Resofsky Collection

Henry Rosenblum Collection Collection of photographs related to the life of Henry Rosenblum (1922-2012) and his family. Henry was from Krakow, Poland, and survived


JHC Centre News

Icek (James) Szeer (d.1978) left Danzig for Mandate Palestine, where he was denied entry by the British authorities and deported to Mauritius, where Jewish refugees were incarcerated in Beau Bassin prison in harsh conditions. After liberation Icek gained entry to Palestine, joined the Jewish brigade, and went with them to Belgium to assist survivors.

Antoni & Anna Szwostek Collection

grandson Laurent Julicher and family.

Donated by granddaughter Kathy Janovic.

Icek Szeer Collection

Donated by niece, Rosalind Goldman

Donated by daughter-in-law Pamela and

A kittel belonging to Mohr (Moshe) Resofsky. Mohr, his wife Lenke and their children lived in Nyírbátor, northeast Hungary. During the Holocaust, the family were incarcerated in a ghetto, then deported to Auschwitz in 1944 where most were murdered.

Charlie Spicer’s Buchenwald jacket

Donated by daughter Anne Gravagna

Gusta, Sabina and Mania Wiesenfeld, Bais Yaakov, Krakow, 1930s

Gordon von Praagh Collection

Buchenwald jacket worn by Charlie Spicer (1928-2012). Charlie was still a young boy when he was liberated from Buchenwald; his parents and brother were murdered in the Holocaust. He was a member of the Buchenwald Boys group in Melbourne.

Ticket to the Nuremberg Trials, four pages from his memoir describing events. Gordon Van Praagh (1909-2003), of patrilineal Jewish heritage, was the brother of Australian Ballet founder Dame Peggy. An eminent chemical scientist and educator, he advised the British admiralty during the Second World War and analysed German scientific inventions.

Donated by wife, Rachel Spicer

Donated by family of Gordon von Praagh

Charlie & Rachel Spicer Collection

 (l-r) Lucia Bekinschtein, Jayne Josem and Pauline Rockman OAM

 (l-r) Cassie, Jesse, Nico, Jake and Jason Wrobel

A meaningful choice

Giving to remember



Deciding to donate proceeds from her bat mitzvah seemed like a natural choice given Lucia’s family’s strong connection to the Holocaust and the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC), where Lucia’s grandmother, Pauline Rockman is co-president. Lucia is the great granddaughter of a refugee from Nazi Germany, where over 40 members of the family were murdered during the Holocaust.

In lieu of gifts, Jesse made the decision to donate to the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC). He said: ‘It is important to learn about the Holocaust, so the bad times do not happen again. We also need to educate people about our past.’ Jesse’s first memory of learning about the Holocaust was in Grade 3, where he recalls listening to stories about Anne Frank. However, it was a Roots Project he created which reinforced the importance of remembering the Holocaust.

Bekinschtein, then a Grade 6 student at The King David School, had her bat mitzvah in June 2019 at Spirit Grow, where Lucia performed the Havdalah (a Jewish religious ceremony or formal prayer marking the end of the Sabbath).

When asked how she felt about donating to the JHC, Lucia says: ‘I made a good choice to donate to the JHC and I feel encouraged to be more involved with the Centre, where my grandmother is heavily involved.’

Wrobel, then a Year 7 student at Bialik College, celebrated his bar mitzvah in August 2019 with family and friends. His call up was held at the Ark Synagogue where he recited the Parasha Ekev.

Jesse’s connection to the Holocaust is through his greatgrandparents who lost many family members. Jesse’s mother, Cassie, says of Jesse’s thoughtful gift to the JHC, ‘Both Jason and I are very proud of Jesse. It is a good opportunity to give back and do something important so we will never forget.’

If you have a simcha coming up and would like to donate to the JHC in lieu of gifts, please contact Danielle Kamien, Marketing Manager, so that we can help you with your fundraising efforts. Danielle can be contacted on (03) 9528 1958 (ext.108) or email marketing@jhc.org.au

JHC Centre News


Seen around the Centre ➊

➍ ➑


JHC Centre News

➏ ➊ (l-r) Peter Golabek, Krystyna Kinst, Zosia Ligoski, Franka Fiszman, Anna Fiszman and Lena Fiszman ➋ (l-r) Maria Lewit OAM, Karin Lewit and Professor Richard Freadman. Photo: Joe Lewit ➌ Jewish Holocaust Centre staff ➍ Holocaust survivors at the Jewish Holocaust Centre ➎ Phillip Maisel OAM and Helen Mahemoff

➏ Graduates of the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators with Dr Ephraim Kaye, John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC. Photo: Rozanna Nazar ➐ (l-r) Di Hirsh OAM, Graham Solomon and Lisa Phillips ➑ Viv Parry and Dr Paul Valent ➒ Joe de Haan and Irma Hanner ➓ (l-r) Helen Mahemoff, Jane Josem and Ruth Mushin

JHC Centre News


School visits 2019 Over 23,000 students from schools and universities across Victoria, as well as some from interstate and overseas, visited the Jewish Holocaust Centre last year. These are the schools that visited:

Academy Of Mary Immaculate Aitken College Alamanda College Albert Park College Albury High School Alexandra Secondary College Alia College Alice Miller School Alphington Grammar School Antonine College Ararat College Ashburn High School Australian International Academy Avalon College Ave Maria College Bacchus Marsh Grammar Baden Powell College Balcombe Grammar School Ballarat Clarendon College Ballarat High School Balwyn High School Bannockburn P-12 College Bayside P-12 College Bayswater Secondary College Beaconhills College Beaufort Secondary College Bentleigh West Primary School Berengarra School Berwick College Beth Rivkah Ladies College Bialik College Billanook College Blackburn High School Braybrook College Bright P-12 College Brighton Grammar School Brighton Secondary College Brunswick Secondary College Camberwell Girls Grammar School Camberwell Grammar School Camberwell High School Canterbury Girls Secondary College Carwatha College P-12 Carey Baptist Grammar School Caroline Chisholm Catholic College Cathedral College Wangaratta Catherine McAuley College Catholic Regional College Melton Catholic Regional College North Keilor Caulfield Grammar School Caulfield Grammar Wheelers Hill Chairo Christian School Charlton College Cheltenham East Primary School Cheltenham Secondary College Chisholm Tafe Cranbourne Campus Christian College Geelong Citipointe Christian School City Cite Ballarat Grammar Clonard College Cobden Technical School Cobram Anglican Grammar School


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Cornish College Covenant College Craigieburn Secondary College Cranbourne East Secondary College Cranbourne Secondary College Damascus College Dandenong High School Daylesford College De La Salle College Deniliquin Christian School Derrinallum P-12 College Diller Teen Fellows, Israel Dimboola Secondary School Doncaster Secondary School Donvale Christian College Dromana Secondary College Drouin Secondary College Echuca College Elisabeth Murdoch College Elwood College Emerald Secondary College Emmanuel College Warrnambool Emmaus College Euroa Secondary College FCJ Benalla Fintona Girls’ School Firbank Grammar Fitzroy High School Flinders Christian Community College Footscray City College Fountain Gate Secondary College Frankston High School Gardenvale Primary School Geelong Baptist College Geelong Lutheran College Genazzano FCJ College Gilson College Girton Grammar School Gisborne Secondary College Gladstone Park Secondary College Glen Eira College Glen Waverley Secondary College Gleneagles Secondary College Glenvale School Good News Lutheran College Goulburn Valley Grammar School Grace Christian College Greensborough College Hampton Park Secondary College Harvester Technical College Hazel Glen College Heathdale Christian College Heatherton Christian College Heathmont College Highvale Secondary College Highview College Hillcrest Christian College Holy Trinity Lutheran College Hoppers Crossing Secondary College Horsham College Ivanhoe Grammar School

John Monash Science School Kadina Memorial School South Australia Kambrya College Kew High School Keysborough College Kilbreda College Kilvington Grammar School King’s Christian College Korowa Anglican Girls’ School Kyabram P-12 College Kyneton Secondary College Lake Bolac College Lakeview Senior College Lalor North College Launceston College Lauriston Girls’ School Lavalla Catholic College Leibler Yavneh College Leongatha Secondary College Lilydale High School Loreto College Ballarat Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School Loyola College Luther College Lyndhurst Secondary College Mackellar Primary MacKillop Catholic Regional College Macleod College Manangatang P-12 College Mansfield Secondary College Maranatha Christian School Marian College Marist College Bendigo Mater Christi College Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary McClelland College McKinnon Primary School McKinnon Secondary College Melbourne Girls’ College Melbourne Girls Grammar Melbourne Grammar School Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School Melton Christian College Meningie Area School Mentone Girls’ Secondary College Mentone Grammar Mercy College Mackay Mercy Regional College Methodist Ladies’ College Millicent High School Moama Anglican Grammar Mooroolbark College Mordialloc College Mornington Secondary College Mount Erin College Mount Ridley College Mount Rowan Secondary College Mount Scopus Memorial College Mount St Joseph’s Girls College Mountain District Christian School Mt Eliza Secondary College Mt Evelyn Christian School Mt Hira College Mount Ridley College Murtoa College Narre Warren South P-12 College Nathalia Secondary College Nazareth College Newhaven College North Melbourne Grammar College Northern Bay College Northern College of The Arts & Technology Northside Christian College Nossal High School Notre Dame College Shepparton Nunawading Christian College Oberon High School Our Lady of Mercy College Our Lady of Sion College Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Overnewton Anglican Community College Oxley Christian College Padua College Mornington Padua College Rosebud

Parkdale Secondary College Pascoe Vale Girls College Peninsula Grammar Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School Penola Catholic College Phoenix P-12 Community College Presentation College Windsor Preshil School Princes Hill Secondary College Redbank Plains SHS Ringwood Secondary College Rochester Secondary College Rosebud Secondary College Rowville Secondary College Roxburgh College Rutherglen High School Ruyton Girls School Sacre Coeur Sacred Heart College Salesian College Sunbury Santa Maria College Scotch College Seymour College Shelford Girls Grammar Shepparton ACE Secondary College Sienna College Somerville Secondary South Oakleigh Secondary College Springside West Secondary College St Augustine College St Bede’s College St Brigid’s College St Catherine’s School St Francis Xavier College St Helena Secondary College St Joseph’s College Geelong St Joseph’s Primary School St Kevin’s College St Mary Mackillop College St Mary of the Angels College Star of the Sea College Staughton College Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar Strathmore Secondary College Sunbury College Sunshine College Ardeer Campus Surf Coast Secondary College Swinburne Senior Secondary College Tasmania TAFE Taylors Lakes Secondary The Academy The Grange - P12 College The Kilmore Int. School The King David School The Knox School The Victorian College of The Arts Tintern Grammar School Toorak College Trinity Grammar School University High School Upper Yarra Secondary College Upwey High School Vermont Secondary School Victoria University Secondary Victory Lutheran College Wallan Secondary College Wanganui Park Secondary Warracknabeal Secondary College Warrandyte High School Warragul Regional College Warrnambool College Waverley Christian College Wellington Secondary College Werribee Secondary College Wesley College Elsternwick Westall Secondary College Western Port Secondary College Whittlesea Secondary College Woodleigh School Woori Yallock Primary School Xavier College Yarra Valley Grammar Yarram Secondary College Yarrawonga P-12 College Yeshivah College

Mazal tov Engagement To Carol and Raymond Abrahams on the engagement of their son Darren to Amy Breuer To Ruth and Sam Alter on the engagement of their daughter Rachy Alter to Brett Joffe To Szaja Chaskiel on the engagement of his grandson Mikey Chaskiel to Laurie Duhamel To Floris Kalman on the engagement of her granddaughter Vivi Kalman to Steve Danczak

Marriage To Jenny and Nathan Better on the marriage of their son David to Michelle Kalus To Yvette and Vivienne Bolaffi on the marriage of their grandson and son Reuben Bolaffi to Elyse Cherny To Lynette and Peter Cherny on the marriage of their daughter Elyse Cherney to Reuben Bolaffi To Liz and David Davidson on the marriage of their daughter Jemma Davidson to Joel Diamond

To Sue and Phil Lewis on the marriage of their daughter Aimee Lewis to Ricky Cahn

To Fanny and Keith Hoffman on the bar mitzvah of their grandson Joshua Bileny

To Hannah Sweetman on the marriage of her grandson David Better to Michelle Kalus


To Helen and Jeffrey Mahemoff on the bat mitzvah of their granddaughter Jazmin Mahemoff and the bar mitzvah of their grandson Rafael Lifszyc

To Sharonna and David Brott on the birth of their granddaughter Ryann Ivy McKenzie

To Bev Sacho on the bar mitzvah of her son Josh Sachol

To Szaja Chaskiel on the birth of his great-grandson Finley Brouze


To Julie Cohen on the birth of her greatgranddaughter Jasmine Abigail Spicer

To Elaine and Sid Davidoff on their 50th wedding anniversary

To Elaine and Sid Davidoff on the birth of their grandson Noah Davidoff

To Helen and Jeffrey Mahemoff on their 50th wedding anniversary

To Ada and Ed Gurgiel on the birth of their granddaughter Cleo Florence To Sue and Phil Lewis on the birth of their granddaughter Chloe Lewis To Lauren and David Majtlis on the birth of their son Levi Majtlis To David Prince on the birth of his great-grandson Maor Kolt, and greatgranddaughter Poppy Lour

Birthdays To Laura Etyngold on her 40th birthday To Robbie Simons on his 40th birthday To Carol Gordon on her 60th birthday To Gavan O’Connor on his 60th birthday To Mark Jacobs on his 70th birthday To Stephen Schmideg on his 70th birthday

To Vivienne Elton and Warren Fineberg on the marriage of their son David Fineberg to Keer Teng

To Judy and Joe Szwarcberg on the birth of their great-granddaughter Indie Avrahami

To Mary Stawski on her 70th birthday

To Helen and Harry Gelber on the wedding of their daughter Shoshi Gelber to Barry Freeder

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

To Abram Goldberg OAM on his 95th birthday

To Clara Weis on the marriage of her grandson Jesse Strauch to Sara Isman

To Helen and Harry Gelber on the bat mitzvah of their granddaughters Rayza Gelber and Liora Kreminzer

To Joe de Haan on his 97th birthday

To Sue and Allan Kalus on the marriage of their daughter Michelle Kalus to David Better

To Henri Korn on his 90th birthday To Freda Schweitzer on her 95th birthday To Phillip Maisel OAM on his 97th birthday

Condolences To Vera Dorevitch on the death of her husband Abe Dorevitch To Katy and Brian Meltzer on the death of their father and father-in-law Abe Dorevitch To Jack and Margaret Esakoff on the death of their father and father-in-law Judah (Joe) Esakoff

To Helen and Harry Gelber on the death of their mother and mother-in-law Tamara Grossman To Kathy Janovic on the death of her husband Les Janovic To Rosa Krakowski on the death of her son-in-law Thomas Lipschutz

To Rhonda Lipschutz on the death of her husband Thomas Lipschutz To Stan Marks OAM on the death of his wife Eva Marks To Debbie Taylor and Michael Hellen on the death of their father Josef Hellen To Denise Waxman on the death of her father John William Waxman

Serving the Community for over 70 years Partners: Joseph Franck Mark Saltzman

Gideon Rathner Danny Lustig Loren Datt

Joseph Kalb Daniel Franck

Level 7, 616 Kilda Road, for Melbourne. 3004 T: 03 9525 3777 F: 03 9537 1104 www.lowelippmann.com.au Serving the St Community over 70VIC years


Joseph Franck Mark Saltzman

Gideon Rathner Danny Lustig JHC Centre News Loren Datt

Level 7, 616 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. VIC 3004

Joseph Kalb Daniel Franck 29


Pesia Helfenbaum (1927 — 2019) Leon Helfenbaum


Helfenbaum lived a long, rich, busy life, filled with friends, family and community. She was married to her greatest friend, Abie, for over 50 years and together they built a warm and happy family. Pesia was a warm person who welcomed strangers into her life. She was always interested in those around her, opening her arms, ready to embrace and to feed. The notion of feeding and caring were the central themes of her life. Pesia was born in Kosov-Latzski, Poland, in 1927. At the age of 12, she left her mother and younger sister, running from the Nazis. Her mother had decided to remain with her daughters to look after the family property, a mill in that town. But Pesia, fearing the Nazis who had shot at the goose she was carrying home for a Shabbat dinner several weeks previously, followed her father and half-brothers, hidden at the back of the wagon they drove across the River Bug into the Soviet Union. It was so fortunate that Pesia made this choice as the remaining family was exterminated in Treblinka. Pesia and her father, Motel, remained in the USSR through the war years, being moved eastwards over the Urals through to Siberia and on to Kazakhstan, where she finished high school. It was remarkable that through all their travails her father made sure that she received as full an education as possible. Pesia’s memories of those times were bittersweet and she never forgot the kindness that the people of the USSR showed to her and her father.

 Pesia Helfenbaum guiding at the JHC museum After a short time, Abie received his visa for migration to Australia and he set off. As Pesia did not yet have a visa for travel to Australia, she moved to Israel with her father. She finally arrived in Australia in 1950. In Melbourne she lived with family, but friends also became family, and our lives were filled with dozens of aunties and uncles, gathered along the way. She and Abie were the centre of a social life and Pesia was involved with Sholem Aleichem kindergarten and various school committees, fostering Yiddish. Later she spent over 24 years as a museum guide at the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC). Educating children and visitors about the terrible truth of the Holocaust, and the need to confront intolerance that stood at the root of all persecution became one of her great and enduring passions. She also delighted in the support of the JHC Social Club, loving the education programs and the continuing contact with friends and colleagues from her more active years. Pesia Helfenbaum had a great mind, a superb memory and a strong personality. She always gave advice, and some could say she was compelled to give her opinion, but it was always with love. She simply ‘knew’ what was best for you, and the advice came without rancour and with a heartfelt concern for you. Through it all she remained a true friend, confidante and mentor, both to her old friends and to the upcoming generations.

 Pesia and Abie Helfenbaum After the defeat of the Nazis, Pesia and her father made their way back to Ziebice in Poland, where many Jews had gathered to discover the fate of their families and start to rebuild their lives. Pesia trained as a kindergarten teacher and it was here that she met and married Abie.


JHC Centre News

Pesia represented a rather remarkable generation that built new lives from tragedy and were able to bring kindness and compassion in all their dealings with people. She will be missed. Dr Leon Helfenbaum is Pesia Helfenbaum’s son.


Stephanie Heller (1924 — 2019) Naomi Heller


mother has always been described as a survivor – and that she was. She survived concentration camp, experimentation, starvation and the death march, but that did not define or confine her. She was a diminutive woman of enormous energy. She was born as an identical twin, arriving minutes after her sister Annetta. She boasted that she pushed her sister out because she was so keen to start living – and she lived up to that proclamation every day. The war robbed her of her beloved mother and younger sister and much, much more. When she and her sister returned to their warravaged Czechoslovakia she thought only of others and embarked on her nursing education. No small feat considering her education had been halted by the restriction on Jews. Once qualified, she embarked on her mission to be where most needed and arrived in the newborn state of Israel. She was soon followed by her sister. Without of a word of Hebrew and just her natural charm and power of persuasion, she rose to the position of Charge Nurse in the esteemed Rambam Hospital in Haifa.

 Annetta Able and Stephanie Heller

In Israel she was charged with trying to find a wife for a young man from Kenya. The task was to introduce him to her single friends. Stepha didn’t – she kept him for herself, and that union took her to Kenya. Another country, another new language to learn, this worked well with her spirit of tackling life head on and enjoying the challenge. There she gave birth to myself and my brother John. Our mother was a determined and caring woman. Her interest in other people is one of the many things that made her unique and so loved. Seeing the disparity between the whites and natives, she learnt Swahili and set up the first second-hand clothes store in our town of Nakuru, with the unique distinction of serving the coloured population. It was a venture in which she excelled. However, the onset of Mau Mau unrest saw our family leave Kenya and immigrate to Australia. Creating a new life in Australia was made easier by the arrival of her sister Annetta and our family became intertwined for life. Never able to be idle, she set up a knitwear business and became an Avon Lady. This worked perfectly with her social smarts, energy and business acumen. Again she excelled. She enjoyed a busy social life with friends from Kenya, and new ones in Australia. Always busy, she undertook English studies, but her best achievement was becoming a grandmother to seven grandchildren. She was their greatest fan and shared a special relationship with them all. When Stepha was approached to join the Jewish Holocaust Centre as a guide, she decided to give it a go and stayed on for 20 years. This became her mission – to inform people of what can and did

 Stepha and Annetta with their mother and sister Elizabeth happen, with the prayer that it wouldn’t be repeated. She was very matter of fact in her delivery and was an excellent guide. It has been said that the goal of life is not to live forever, but to create something that will. She created something so much bigger than herself that there is no doubt that her legacy will continue. She was the epicentre of our world and we miss here greatly. Naomi Heller is Stephanie Heller’s daughter. This obituary was written on behalf of her and her brother, John Heller.

JHC Centre News


Many thanks Jewish Holocaust Centre and Jewish Holocaust Centre Foundation supporters We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all our donors – your support has made a significant impact and continues to allow us to preserve Holocaust memory and teach the important lessons of the Holocaust. The listing includes donations to the Foundation or the Jewish Holocaust Centre of $500.00 and above from 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2020. Michael & Helen Abeles Dion & Sandy Abrahams Gary & Suzanne Adler Sam & Ruth Alter Roseanne Amarant Jeffrey Appel OAM & Sue Appel Evan Arnott David Bardas AO Victor & Sally Barnes Sabina Barylak Andrew & Natalie Bassat Bob Bassat & Nina Bassat AM Paul & Sharon Bassat Tony & Kate Beaconsfield Miriam Berman Marc Besen AC & Eva Besen AO The Besen Family Foundation Greg & Julie Blashki Philip Bliss OAM & Andrea Bliss Barry & Lorraine Bloom Joey & Julie Borensztajn Allison Borts David & Eva Boulton Philip & Vivien Brass Evelyn Bresner Dr & Mrs T Brott Diana Burgess Judith Burstyner Joe & Pam Bursztyn Barry & Suzi Carp Michael & Emma Carp George & Freda Castan Richard & Sue Castan Jack & Anna Chrapot Sara Chrapot Belinda Cohen Steven & Melody Curtis Syd & Elaine Davidoff David & Liz Davidson Tony & Rochelle Davis Ian & Shirley de Winter Peter & Kim de Winter Simon & Lisa de Winter Aviva Debinski Robert & Jasmine Dindas Ron & Judy Dodge Morry & Janette Dvash Joan Dwyer Colin & Debbie Edwards


JHC Centre News

Jack Ekstein The Eva and Les Erdi Humanitarian Charitable Foundation David Eshaghian Shaun & Michelle Factor Bill Fayman Ian & Yvonne Fayman Marvin & Barbara Fayman Simon & Sandra Feingold Barbara Fih Barry & Kaye Fink The Leo & Mina Fink Fund Alan Finkel AO & Elizabeth Finkel AM Vann & Beata Fisher Joe & Glenda Flinkier The Fonda Family Charitable Foundation Ronit Fraid Joel & Agnes Freeman Mark & Leesa Freilich Alfred Frohlich Michelle Gandel & Stevan Lambert Gandel Philanthropy Dr P Gardner AM & Dr H Gardner Ian & Rita Gelbart Jono & Kelly Gelfand Ruffy & Fiona Geminder Danny Gesundheit Leon & Miriam Goldberg Leigh & Yvonne Goldbloom Leon Goldman Alan Goldstone OAM & Pam Goldstone Danny & Lindy Gorog Tom & Jenny Gorog Jack Gringlas OAM & Dianne Gringlas Paul & Sarah Grinwald Robert & Pauline Grodski Allan Grosman Phillip & Pauline Grosman Michael & Evelyn Gross Joseph Grynberg Simon & Bella Gurevich Edmund & Ada Gurgiel

Mr & Mrs P Gyopar Dennis & Suzanne Hain Alice Halasz George Halasz Bernie & Melma Hamersfeld Paula Hansky OAM Lawrence & Gene Harris Gary & Sue Hearst John & Sonia Heitlinger Anna Hirsh Mark Hoenig Katy Honig Jack & Norma Hoppe Peter & Nina Hornung Rachel Hornung Michele Huppert Peter Irving & Marjan Erlanger-Irving Paul Ivany & Susie Ivany OAM The Estate of Anita Jaffe Myer & Genia Janover Les & Kathy Janovic Vernon & Sandra Jedwab Michael & Danielle Jelinek Jetmaster (VIC) Benjamin & Sharona Jotkowitz Charles & Leah Justin Rodney & Suzanne Kagan Alan & Susie Kalus Joseph Kaufman Ashley Kausman & Lisa Mann Irvin Kaye Simon & Julie Kessell David & Pauline Kingston Stephen & Suzie Kleid Gideon Kline Shelley Kline Ken & Carol Klooger David & Bindy Koadlow Ben & Ella Kohn Bella & Sam Kolber Bernard Korman Mel & Judi Korman Larry & Sophie Kornhauser Alan Kozica & Roxanne Lambert Wendy Kozica Joe Krampel AM & Marcia Krampel Henryk & Emma Kranz Anna Krauskopf Dinah Krongold Sue Krongold Tom & Lorelle Krulis Colin Krycer Barry & Barbara Landau Sally Landman Julie Landvogt Henry Lanzer AM & Janette Lanzer Silvana Layton Jonathan & Terri Lazarus Sylvie Leber Mark Lenk Ron & Shirley Lesh Mark & Anna Levin Barry & Estelle Levy Roslyn Levy Mr R Levy Rosie Lew AM Steven & Shelley Lewin

Phil & Sue Lewis Bori & Helen Liberman Rena Lipton Tom & Sylvia Lowenstein Maurice Lubansky Richard & Sharlene Lustig Dr & Mrs H Machlin Karin MacNab Jeffrey Mahemoff AO & Helen Mahemoff Phillip Maisel OAM Rita & Harry Mantell The Mard Foundation Jeffrey & Yumi Markoff Tony & Michelle Marks Sandra Masel Joe & Gisella Mel James & Elana Melzak Margot Melzak OAM Richard Mereine Alan & Irene Messer Richard & Melissa Michaels Henry Miller & Natalie Miller AO Michael Milmeister Henry & Roslyn Monkus Abe & Doris Montag Mark & Den Montag David & Tamara Murkies Annette Nankin & Justin Graham Dorothea Nossbaum Leonie Nossbaum Robert & Debbie Nossbaum Barry Novy OAM & Sue Selwyn Luba Olenski Raymond & MaryLou Orloff Gerard & Lil Pearce Harry & Rita Perelberg Norman Pollack JP Dan & Eva Presser The PSN Family Trust Ian & Sandy Raizon Vaughan & Melanie Raleigh Eli & Lorraine Raskin Judy Rassaby Sam & Glenda Recht Ralph & Ruth Renard Vivien Resofsky Michael & Nicole Rich Mr & Mrs J Richter Matt Rockman Pauline Rockman OAM John Rogers AM & Margot Rogers Myron & Jennie Rogers Richard Rogers & Roslyn Rogers OAM Marcus & Eva Rose Jack & Annette Rosen Harry & Viv Rosenberg Julian & Vivien Rosenfeld Greg & Anne Rosshandler Mourice & Ruth Rostkier Michael & Hannah Roth Gloria Rubenstein Adam & Yoko Ryan Naomi Saporta Peter & Judi Schiff Ronald & Kay Schweitzer Sam & Judy Seigel

Danny & Anita Selzer Leon Serry AM & Vivienne Serry Greg Shalit & Miriam Faine Gerald & Lorraine Shapiro Gideon & Barbara Shaw James & Leanne Shaw Philip Shulman OAM & Bella Shulman Lily Shwarz Ben & Judy Siegel Jack & Lesley Silberscher Howard & Annette Silman Joel Silver Barry Singer & Simone Szalmuk-Singer David & Tammie Slade Graham Slade AM & Mary Slade

Ben Slonim OAM & Eva Slonim OAM Michael & Sue Small David Smorgon OAM & Kathie Smorgon Rodney & Ann Smorgon The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation The Victor Smorgon Charitable Fund Ross & Karen Snow Norman Sonenberg Graeme Southwick OAM & Suzanne Southwick John & Karyn Spilberg Lionel & Brenda Steinberg John & Suzanne Steiner Bernie Stone

Halina Strnad Manny Stul Tanya Stul Theo & Shirley Sweet Geoff Szalmuk Joe & Judy Szwarcberg Phillip & Aviva Teperman Frank Tisher OAM & Miriam Tisher Sylvia Urbach Leon & Sandra Velik Alex Waislitz Max & Pebbie Wald Victor Wayne & Karen Wayne OAM Sam Webb Alan & Caroline Wein Marvin & Annette Weinberg

The Werdiger Charitable Foundation Viviene Wertkin Dennis & Tauba Wilson Wingate Colin & Roe Wise Jeffrey Wolinski Tom Wolkenberg & Linda Wyse Anne Wollach-Szalmuk Nancy Worth Morry & Paule Wrobel Abe & Marlene Zelwer Leon & Miriam Zimmet

Simcha donations Morry & Pauline Wrobel Marshall Rushford Barb Michaels Daniel Feldman Harry Rosenberg Pauline Wrobel Tab Fried Bernie Kaufman Cesia Goldberg Henri Korn

50th Wedding Anniversary 60th Birthday 70th Birthday 70th Birthday 70th Birthday 70th Birthday 80th Birthday 90th Birthday 90th Birthday 90th Birthday

Szaja Chaskiel 90th Birthday Abe Goldberg 95th Birthday Jesse Wrobel Bar Mitzvah Lucia Beckenstein Bat Mitzvah Brett Joffe & Rachy Alter Engagement Dave Selzer & Sarah Peterfreund Wedding We apologise if your name has been omitted. Please contact the Jewish Holocaust Centre on (03) 9598 1825 or admin@jhc.org.au with your details for inclusion in the next listing.

Estate gifts We acknowledge the Jewish Holocaust Centre and Foundation bequestors for their generosity and vision. May their memory be a blessing. Regina Aldelfang Anonymous Erika Bence Elza Bernst Susan Blatman Gitla Borenstein Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE Majer (Kopl) Ceprow Jenny Chaenkel Richard Charlupski Chaim Feldman John Fox Jakob Frenkiel Cecilia Freshman Romana Frey Sara Frucht Walter Geismar Fania Gitein Samuel Gnieslaw Sam Granek

Arnold Hacker Bessie Heiman Magda Horvat Sabine Jakubowicz Betty Janover Thea Kimla Lola Kiven Leslie Klemke Rivka Knox Izabella Krol Pinek Krystal Nona Lee Ivor Leiser Ruth Leiser Wilhelm Lerner Charlotte Lesser Kurt Lewinski Sara Liebman Julek & Ada Lipski Pearl & Maurice Lubansky

Abram Malewiak Janina Marcus Anna Mass Sonia Mrocki Victor Muntz Kalman & Elka Bajla Parasol Edith Peer Elizabeth Peer Lilian Renard Gerda Rogers Betty & Rose Rosalky Hadasa Rosenbaum Shmuel Rosenkranz Bencjan Rozencwajg Irene & Ignacy Rozental Leslie Sandy Joseph Schauf-Dauber Raymond Harry Schiller Josef Sharf Dalber Helen Sharp

Otto Shelton Marianne Singer Sonia Sochodolski Oskar and Lisa Sokolski Mary Starr Georgette Steinic Samuel Wolf Stopnik Berta Strom Geoffrey Tozer Josef Tyler Hana Uberbayn Emanuel Wajnblum Ludvik Weisz Hannah Wiener Pinkus Wiener Ludwik & Rita Winfield Chaya Ziskind Sofia Zitron

JHC Centre News




JHC Centre News


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JHC Centre News


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JHC Centre News


‫געֿפינען זיך אין בית לוחמי הגטאות‟‪ .‬דעמאָ לט בין‬ ‫בײם אָ נהייב ֿפון די מאַ גיסטער־‬ ‫איך געווען אַ ּתלמיד ַ‬ ‫לימודים‪ .‬ערשט אין יאָ ר ‪ 1971‬האָ ט ּפראָ ֿפ׳ שמערוק‬ ‫נצושרײבן אַ‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫מיר אַ ֿפרעג געטאָ ן‪ ,‬צי בין איך גרייט אָ‬ ‫דאָ קטאָ ראַ ט וועגן דער ייִדישער און העברעיִשער‬ ‫ליטעראַ טור געשאַ ֿפן אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪.‬‬ ‫יענער וויזיט אין בית לוחמי הגטאות‪ ,‬איז‪ֿ ,‬פאַ ר אונדז‬ ‫ּתלמידים‪ ,‬געווען דאָ ס ערשטע מאָ ל וואָ ס מיר האָ בן‬ ‫זיך געטראָ ֿפן מיט איינעם ֿפון די לעגענדאַ רע‬ ‫אָ נֿפירער ֿפון ייִדישן באַ וואָ ֿפנטן ווידערשטאַ נד אין‬ ‫וואַ רשע — יצחק צוקערמאַ ן‪ ,‬וועלכער האָ ט אונדז‬ ‫ּפרטימדיק דערקלערט‪ ,‬מיט דער הילף ֿפון אַ מאַ קעט‬ ‫ֿפון וואַ רשאַ ווער געטאָ ‪ ,‬מיט אַ לע אירע גאַ סן און‬ ‫געסלעך‪ ,‬די געשיכטע ֿפונעם ייִדישן אויֿפשטאַ נד‪.‬‬ ‫יענער וויזיט האָ ט געהאַ ט אויף מיר אַ שטאַ רקע‬ ‫ווײל צווישן ‪ 1965‬און ‪ 1967‬האָ ט „בית‬ ‫השּפעה ַ‬ ‫לוחמי הגטאות‟ מיר געבעטן איך זאָ ל דעשיֿפרירן‬ ‫דעם ייִדישן ּכתֿב־יד וואָ ס דער ‪15‬־יעריקער יצחק‬ ‫רודאַ שעווסקי האָ ט אָ נגעשריבן אין ווילנער געטאָ ‪.‬‬ ‫שרײבן אַ‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫ווען ּפראָ ֿפ׳ שמערוק האָ ט מיר ֿפאָ רגעלייגט‬ ‫דיסערטאַ ציע וועגן דער ייִדישער און העברעיִשער‬ ‫ליטעראַ טור געשריבן אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪ ,‬האָ ב‬ ‫איך שוין געווּוסט אַ ז דאָ ס איז אַ טעמע וואָ ס דאַ רף‬ ‫ווײל קיינער האָ ט נאָ ך‬ ‫ערשט אויסגעֿפאָ רשט ווערן‪ַ ,‬‬ ‫נישט מיט דעם זיך סיסטעמאַ טיש ֿפאַ רנומען‪ֿ .‬פון אַ‬ ‫מעטאָ דאָ לאָ גישן קוקווינקל האָ ט אַ זאַ חיבר געדאַ רֿפט‬ ‫זיך שטיצן בלויז אויף אויטענטישע ּכתֿב־ידן געשריבן‬ ‫אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪ .‬משה זוך מיר! ביז ‪1971‬‬ ‫זענען טאַ קע דערשינען אין דרוק אַ סך ליטעראַ רישע‬ ‫טעקסטן מיט דאַ טעס ֿפון דער צווייטער וועלט־‬ ‫מלחמה‪ ,‬און מע האָ ט אונדז ֿפאַ רזיכערט אַ ז אַ זוינע‬ ‫טעקסטן געהערן צו דער אויטענטישער אומקום־‬ ‫ליטעראַ טור‪ .‬אָ בער דערנאָ ך האָ ט מען זיך געכאַ ּפט אַ ז‬ ‫אויב מע וויל טאַ קע ֿפאַ רשטיין ווי אַ זוי האָ בן די‬ ‫שרײבער און מחברים אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫רעאַ גירט‪ ,‬מוז מען אויסזוכן די אויטענטישע ּכתֿב־ידן‪,‬‬ ‫ווײל די געדרוקטע טעקסטן זענען נישט באַ גלייבטע‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫עדות‪ .‬ווי אַ ּתלמיד ֿפון ּפראָ ֿפ׳ שמערוק‪ ,‬האָ ב איך‬ ‫געהאַ ט אַ ֿפולן צוטרוי צו אים‪ ,‬און איך האָ ב‬ ‫רײנלאָ זן אין אַ דיסערטאַ ציע‬ ‫ֿפאַ רשטאַ נען אַ ז זיך אַ ַ‬ ‫וועגן דער ייִדישער און העברעיִשיר ליטעראַ טור אין‬ ‫זײט — אַ‬ ‫די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪ ,‬איז ֿפון איין ַ‬ ‫זײט — אַ‬ ‫האַ רבער עסק‪ ,‬אָ בער ֿפון דער צווייטער ַ‬ ‫וויכטיקע היסטאָ רישע און קולטורעלע אויֿפגאַ בע‪ .‬א‬ ‫גײסט וויז־אַ ־ווי די‬ ‫ווידערשטאַ נד ֿפון ייִדישן ַ‬ ‫מענטשלעכע נאַ צי־רשעות‪ .‬מיר‪ ,‬די געראַ טעוועטע‬

‫זײנען געבוירן געוואָ רן מחוץ‬ ‫ֿפון אומקום; מיר‪ ,‬וואָ ס ַ‬ ‫אייראָ ּפע אָ דער נאָ ך דער צווייטער וועלט־מלחמה‪,‬‬ ‫און אונדזערע קינדער — וועלן קיין מאָ ל נישט האָ בן‬ ‫קיין אַ נונג וועגן דעם וואָ ס עס מיינט אַ מענטשלעכע‬ ‫סײדן‬ ‫גלײכן‪ַ ,‬‬ ‫זײנס ַ‬ ‫צי־דײטש‪ ,‬אָ דער ַ‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫רישעות ֿפון אַ נאַ‬ ‫מיר וועלן ּפרּווון זיך ֿפאַ רטיֿפן—נישט נאָ ר אין דער‬ ‫גײסטיקן‬ ‫נאַ צי־געשיכטע‪ ,‬נאָ ר אויך אין דעם ַ‬ ‫ווידערשטאַ נד ֿפון אירע קרבנות‪ .‬במשך ‪ 42‬יאָ ר‪,‬‬ ‫מײן דיסערטאַ ציע‬ ‫זענען צוויי עקזעמּפלאַ רן ֿפון ַ‬ ‫אָ ּפגעלעגן אין די ֿפינצטערע קעלערן ֿפון אַ‬ ‫נאַ ציאָ נאַ לער ביבליאָ טעק‪ .‬מיין איך אַ ז עס איז‬ ‫צײט צו באַ קענען דעם‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫געקומען די‬ ‫סײ מיט דער‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫ֿפאַ ראינטערעסירטן לייענער‬ ‫ּפראָ בלעמאַ טיק ווי אַ זוי צו דערגיין צום אויטענטישן‬ ‫שרײבער אין די געטאָ ס און‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫קול ֿפון די ייִדישע‬ ‫שרײבן ֿפאַ רן לייענער‪ ,‬מיט‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫סײ צו באַ‬ ‫לאָ גערן‪ ,‬און ַ‬ ‫גײסטיקע ּכוחות זענען זיי געגאַ נגען צום טויט‬ ‫וועלכע ַ‬ ‫אָ דער אַ ֿפילו זיך געראַ טעוועט‪ .‬דאָ ס בוך ֿפאַ רנעמט‬ ‫זיך טאַ קע מיטן ֿפענאָ מען ֿפון ייִדן יונג און אַ לט וואָ ס‬ ‫שרײבן ּפנים־אל־ּפנים מיטן טויט‪ .‬אין צענטער ֿפון‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫דאָ קטאָ ראַ ט ֿפאַ רנעם איך זיך מיט אַ ן אויסֿפירלעכן‬ ‫אַ נאַ ליז ֿפון די לעצטע ּכתֿבים ֿפון יצחק קאַ צענעלסאָ ן‬ ‫הײנט ווייניק באַ קאַ נטער‬ ‫— דער וויכטיקסטער און ַ‬ ‫שרײבער‪ ,‬וועלכער האָ ט געשריבן איו‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫ּפאָ עט און‬ ‫וואַ רשעווער געטאָ ‪ ,‬דער עיקר אויף ייִדיש‪ ,‬און אין‬ ‫לאַ גער וויטעל —דער עיקר אויף העברעיִש‪ .‬אין בוך‬ ‫ווערן אויך אַ נאַ ליזירט די שריֿפטן ֿפון אַ ֿברהם‬ ‫סוצקעווער אין ווילנער געטאָ און די שריֿפטן ֿפון‬ ‫ישעיהו שּפיגל אין לאָ דזשער געטאָ ‪ ,‬אויֿפן סמך ֿפון‬ ‫די אָ ּפגעראַ טעוועטע אויטענטישע ּכתֿב־ידן וועלכע‬ ‫סוצקעווער און שּפיגל האָ בן מיר געגעבן‪ 42 .‬יאָ ר‬ ‫מײן בוך איז אָ נגעשריבן געוואָ רן‪.‬‬ ‫זענען אַ ריבער זינט ַ‬ ‫זינט דעמאָ לט האָ ב איך אַ ליין אַ רויסגעגעבן אַ ּפאָ ר‬ ‫ביכער וועגן אָ ט דער טעמע‪ ,‬און אַ נדערע ֿפאָ רשער‬ ‫מײן‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫בײטראָ ג‪ ,‬אָ בער‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫האָ בן צוגעלייגט זייער‬ ‫ערשטיקע ֿפאָ רשאַ רבעט‪ ,‬וויל איך גלייבן‪ ,‬האָ ט ביז‬ ‫הײנט אַ האַ ֿפט‪ .‬די ייִדישע און העברעיִשע‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫ווײט ֿפון‬ ‫ליטעראַ טור געשאַ ֿפן בעתן אומקום איז ַ‬ ‫מײן מיינונג דאַ רף און קען‬ ‫ווערן אויסגעשעּפט‪ .‬לויט ַ‬ ‫דאָ ס ייִדישע ֿפאָ לק אַ וועקשטעלן אין ביבליאָ טעקן‬ ‫לכל־הּפחות ‪ 40‬בענדער ֿפון דער ייִדישער און‬ ‫העברעיִשער ליטעראַ טור געשריבן בעת דער‬ ‫צווייטער וועלט־מלחמה אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪.‬‬ ‫אָ בער די וואָ ס וואָ לטן באַ דאַ רֿפט טאָ ן אַ זאַ מינימאַ לע‬ ‫אויֿפגאַ בע‪ ,‬צום באַ דויערן‪ ,‬מאַ כן זיך ּתמעוואַ טע‪.‬‬ ‫צוזאַמענגעשטעלט‪ :‬אַלעקס דאַֿפנער‬

‫‪JHC Centre News‬‬

‫ ‪38‬‬

‫ֿפאַ ר וואָ ס מע מוז לייענען די ליטעראַ טור געשאַ ֿפן אין געטאָ און אין לאַ גער‬ ‫ֿפאָרווערטס‪ֿ :‬פון יחיאל שיינטוך‬ ‫מײנער אַ‬ ‫ס׳איז לעצטנס דערשינען צום ערשטן מאָ ל ַ‬ ‫בוך וואָ ס איך האָ ב אָ נגעשריבן מיט ‪ 42‬יאָ ר צוריק‪.‬‬ ‫אויף אַ זאַ בוך האָ ב איך געאַ רבעט זיבן יאָ ר — ּכמעט‬ ‫דרײ יאָ ר האָ ב איך צונויֿפגעזאַ מלט די מאַ טעריאַ לן‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫ֿפאַ ר אַ זאַ ֿפאָ רשאַ רבעט‪ ,‬און במשך ֿפיר יאָ ר האָ ב איך‬ ‫מײן דיסערטאַ ציע וועגן דער‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫אָ נגעשריבן‬ ‫ליטעראַ רישער רעאַ קציע וואָ ס ייִדן אין די געטאָ ס און‬ ‫לאַ גערן האָ בן אָ נגעשריבן בעת דער צווייטער וועלט־‬ ‫מלחמה‪ .‬ביזן יאָ ר ‪ 1978‬האָ ט די ייִדישע וועלט קיין‬ ‫אַ נונג נישט געהאַ ט וועגן דער ליטעראַ רישער און‬ ‫קולטור־שעֿפערישקייט ֿפון ייִדן אין די נאַ צי־געטאָ ס‬ ‫און לאַ גערן‪ .‬אויך איך האָ ב ביזן יאָ ר ‪ 1971‬נישט‬ ‫געווּוסט וואָ ס ֿפאַ ר אַ שוועריקייטן דערוואַ רטן מיר‪.‬‬ ‫אין העברעיִשן אוניווערסיטעט און אין דער גאָ רער‬ ‫וועלט‪ ,‬האָ בן נישט עקסיסטירט קיין קורסן וועגן‬ ‫אינערלעכן לעבן ֿפון ייִדן אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪.‬‬ ‫מײנע לימודים אין‬ ‫מײנע לערערס בעת ַ‬ ‫איינער ֿפון ַ‬ ‫נטצײטיקן ייִדנטום — ד״ר שאול אש‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫הײ‬ ‫אָ ּפטייל ֿפון ַ‬ ‫[אייש] — האָ ט געלערנט מיט אונדז קורסן וועגן דער‬ ‫אומקום־ּתקוֿפה בלויז ֿפון דער ּפערסּפעקטיוו‪ ,‬וואָ ס‬ ‫דײטשלאַ נד און‬ ‫דײטשן געטאָ ן צו די ייִדן אין ַ‬ ‫האָ בן די ַ‬ ‫מזרח־אייראָ ּפע‪ .‬ד״ר שאול אש‪ ,‬אַ ליין אַ געבוירענער‬ ‫דײטשלאַ נד‪ ,‬איינער ֿפון די ערשטע‬ ‫אין יאָ ר ‪ 1921‬אין ַ‬ ‫ֿפאָ רשערס ֿפון אומקום‪ ,‬איז אין יאָ ר ‪1968‬‬ ‫יונגערהייט אומגעקומען אין אַ ן אויטאָ מאָ ביל־‬ ‫אַ קצידענט‪ֿ ,‬פירנדיק אַ ן אויטאָ צו אַ רואָ רט ווּו ער‬ ‫האָ ט געזאָ לט צוגרייטן אַ רעֿפעראַ ט ֿפאַ רן ייִוואָ ־‬ ‫אינסטיטוט אין ניו־יאָ רק‪ .‬ער האָ ט דאָ רט געזאָ לט‬ ‫ֿפאָ רלייגן אַ נאָ וואַ טאָ רישן ֿפאָ רשּפרויעקט וועגן דעם‬ ‫טאָ ג־טעגלעכן לעבן ֿפון ייִדן אין די געטאָ ס און‬ ‫לאַ גערן בעת דער צווייטער וועלט־מלחמה‪ .‬דער‬ ‫ערשטער אוניווערסיטעט־קורס אין ירושלים וועגן‬ ‫אינערלעכן לעבן ֿפון ייִדן אין די געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪,‬‬ ‫האָ ט געלערנט מיט אונדז ד״ר יהודה באואר (אים צו‬ ‫לאַ נגע יאָ ר) אין יאָ ר ‪ .1972‬אין יענע יאָ רן איז געווען‬ ‫אָ נגענומען אַ ז ייִדן זענען געֿפירט געוואָ רן צום טויט‬ ‫ווי שאָ ף צו דער שחיטה‪ .‬געלערנט האָ ב איך ֿפריִער‬ ‫מײנע לימודים ּכדי צו באַ קומען אַ מאַ גיסטער‪ ,‬און‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫אויסקלײבן אַ טעמע ֿפאַ ר‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫ווען איך האָ ב באַ דאַ רֿפט‬ ‫מײן מאַ גיסטער־טעזע צווישן די יאָ רן ‪ 1965‬און‬ ‫ַ‬ ‫‪ ,1970‬איז די טעמע‪ ,‬דאָ ס אינערלעכע לעבן ֿפון די‬ ‫ייִדן אונטער די נאַ ציס‪ ,‬נאָ ך נישט געדעקט געוואָ רן‬ ‫אין די קורסן אָ דער ֿפאָ רש‪-‬אַ רבעטן‪ .‬האָ ב איך‬


‫ ‪JHC Centre News‬‬

‫ ‬

‫זײן וועגן דער ייִ דישער‬ ‫מײן טעזע זאָ ל ַ‬ ‫באַ שלאָ סן אַ ז ַ‬ ‫ליטעראַ רור געשאַ ֿפן אין אַ רגענטינע‪ .‬דער ערשטער‬ ‫קורס אין העברעיִשן אוניווערסיטעט וועגן ייִ דן בעתן‬ ‫בײם ייִדיש־אָ ּפטייל‪ ,‬אין‬ ‫אומקום איז געגעבן געוואָ רן ַ‬ ‫יאָ ר ‪ ,1968‬דורך ּפראָ ֿפ׳ חנא שמערוק וועלכער האָ ט‬ ‫אָ ּפגעגעבן אַ גאַ נצן זמן צו באַ טראַ כטן די‬ ‫ּפראָ בלעמאַ טיק ֿפון דעם ליטעראַ רישן שאַ ֿפן אין די‬ ‫געטאָ ס און לאַ גערן‪ּ .‬פראָ ֿפ׳ חנא שמערוק‪ ,‬אַ‬ ‫געבוירענער אין וואַ רשע אין זעלבן יאָ ר ווי ד״ר שאול‬ ‫אש‪ ,‬איז געווען טיף ֿפאַ רבונדן מיטן גורל ֿפון די ייִ דן‬ ‫אונטער דער נאַ צי־הערשאַ ֿפט‪ .‬אין ‪ 1984‬האָ ב איך‪,‬‬ ‫בעת אַ באַ זוך מיט אים און די אַ נדערע ּתלמידים אין‬ ‫טרעבלינקע‪ ,‬צום ערשטן מאָ ל געזען ווי ּפראָ ֿפ׳‬ ‫זײן שוועסטער וואָ ס‬ ‫שמערוק וויינט אויֿפן גורל ֿפון ַ‬ ‫דײטשן האָ בן אומגעבראַ כט אין יענעם אומברענג־‬ ‫די ַ‬ ‫לאַ גער‪ .‬הּכלל‪ ,‬אין יאָ ר ‪ 1965‬האָ ט ּפראָ ֿפ׳ שמערוק‬ ‫אָ רגאַ ניזירט אַ טרעֿפונג צווישן סטודענטן און לערער‬ ‫ֿפון העברעיִשן אוניווערסיטעט‪ ,‬מיט די אָ נֿפירער ֿפון‬ ‫קיבוץ לוחמי הגטאות [קיבוץ לזּכרון די געטאָ ־‬ ‫קעמֿפער]‪ :‬יצחק צוקערמאַ ן‪ ,‬דער גרינדער ֿפון דעם‬ ‫אַ רכיוו און דעם מוזיי אין קיבוץ‪ ,‬און צֿבי שנער‪ ,‬דער‬ ‫גענעראַ ל־דירעקטאָ ר ֿפון מוזיי און אַ רכיוו‪ .‬מיר האָ בן‬ ‫געווּוסט אַ ז ּפראָ ֿפ׳ שמערוק ֿפלעג‪ ,‬צוזאַ מען מיט יצחק‬ ‫צוקערמאַ ן און צֿבי שנער‪ ,‬אָ ּפזיצן גאַ נצענע שעהען‬ ‫און טעג מיט אַ גלעזעלע סליוואָ וויץ אָ דער מאַ שקע‪,‬‬ ‫דעשיֿפרירנדיק יצחק קאַ צענעלסאָ נס געראַ טעוועטע‬ ‫ּכתֿב־ידן ֿפון וואַ רשעווער געטאָ ‪ .‬אין אַ רכיוו ֿפון בית‬ ‫לוחמי הגטאות אויֿפן נאָ מען ֿפון יצחק קאַ צענעלסאָ ן‪,‬‬ ‫האָ בן זיך געֿפונען ס׳רוֿב אָ ּפגעראַ טעוועטע ּכתֿב־ידן‬ ‫ֿפון יצחק קאַ צענעלסאָ ן אויף ייִדיש‪ .‬בעת יענער‬ ‫טרעֿפונג מיט די אָ נֿפירער ֿפון בית לוחמי הגטאות‪ ,‬איז‬ ‫ֿפאָ רגעקומען אַ ן אינטערעסאַ נטע זאַ ך‪ :‬נאָ ך אַ גאַ נצן‬ ‫טאָ ג ֿפון רעֿפעראַ טן וועגן וואַ רשעווער געטאָ ‪ ,‬וועגן‬ ‫דעם אויֿפשטאַ נד און דער אומקום־ּתקוֿפה בכלל‪,‬‬ ‫האָ ט צֿבי שנער אין אָ וונט געגעבן אַ ן איבערזיכט ֿפון‬ ‫דער טרעֿפונג‪ ,‬זאָ גנדיק‪„ :‬בית לוחמי הגטאות‪,‬‬ ‫געגרינדעט אין יאָ ר ‪ ,1949‬גיט אַ רויס די ּכתֿבים ֿפון‬ ‫יצחק קאַ צענעלסאָ ן‪ ,‬דער עיקר אין אַ העברעיִשער‬ ‫איבערזעצונג‪ .‬מיר האָ ֿפן אַ ז עמעצער ֿפון די ּתלמידים‬ ‫ֿפון ייִדיש־אָ ּפטייל אין העברעיִשן אוניווערסיטעט‬ ‫וועט אין דער צוקונֿפט זיך אָ ּפגעבן מיט אַ ן אויסגאַ בע‬ ‫ֿפון די אָ ריגינעלע געטאָ ־שריֿפטן ֿפון קאַ צענעלסאָ ן‬ ‫געשריבן אויף ייִדיש‪ ,‬לויט די מאַ נוסקריּפטן וואָ ס‬

APRIL 2020

The magazine of the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, Australia


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Centre News - April Issue 2020  

We feature articles by Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld, who reflects on his experience as an eyewitness of genocide and the rise of antisemitism...

Centre News - April Issue 2020  

We feature articles by Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld, who reflects on his experience as an eyewitness of genocide and the rise of antisemitism...

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