Community, nation commemorate Shoah The Australian …

Posted By on March 3, 2022

A nationwide commemoration on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD) last Thursday featured recollections from a survivor, candle lighting ceremonies in all states and territories, a reflection from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and findings from a new Australian Holocaust survey.

The online event was hosted by the Australian Holocaust Museum Alliance on January 27, anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945.

In a video message, Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, which initiated IHRD in 2005, condemned the denial or downplaying of the Shoah, reflecting, The Holocaust defined the United Nations. Our very name was coined to describe the alliance fighting the Nazi regime and its allies.

Introduced by granddaughter Naomi Raiz, Sydneys Yvonne Engelman recounted how her fathers entreaties to promise him she would survive had helped her through the nightmare of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Id lost my entire family in one moment, she recalled, describing the Nazi selection she witnessed, separating her from her loved ones.

Nina Bassat, a child survivor and former Executive Council of Australian Jewry president, spoke about the milestone Gandel Holocaust Awareness and Knowledge in Australia Survey, released on the day of the commemoration, and featured in The AJN last week.

A member of the studys advisory panel, Bassat introduced a presentation of key recommendations, including making Shoah studies part of Australian school curricula.

A panel chaired by Edward Santow, former Australian Human Rights Commissioner, heard insights from Deng Adut, a former South Sudanese refugee and 2017 Australian of the Year, and Daniella Gavshon, program director, Truth and Accountability, at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Santow reflected, The Holocaust is unique in scope, in scale and in effect and yet we cant confine this history to a glass case, noting, The rise of the modern human rights movement was at least in large part a response to the Holocaust.

A moving composition, Deine Mami (Your Mummy), was performed by the Sydney Childrens Choir. Composed by Sam Weiss, grandson of survivors, and the choirs 2020-21 composer-in-residence, it was based on a poem written by his great-grandmother in Germany in 1936 in a book belonging to his grandmother, donated to the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Said Weiss, It beautifully expresses a mothers love for her young daughter as she dreams of a better life.

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