Danby seeks his roots

April 12, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Federal Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby has been hosted by the Polish Foreign Ministry in his capacity as Chairman of the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

Torun

Danby met members of the Polish Parliament, in the Sejm and heard the Polish Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski deliver the annual speech on the state of Polish Foreign Affairs which dealt with the fact that Poland like Israel, Australia and South Korea were the only countries to grow during the Global Financial Crisis. Danby met with 7 members of the Polish-Australian Friendship Group, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Poland,  Mr Grzegorz Schetyna and the Chairman of the Defence Committee Mr Stefan Niesiolowski. Danby’s most important meeting was with Prof Stanislaw Koziej, Secretary of State and head of the Polish National Security bureau.

Michael Danby

Later,  Danby delivered the keynote speech to the Polish Institute of International Affairs in front of an audience of ambassadors, diplomats, and dignitaries.

Michael Danby spoke of his deep connection with Poland, “Like many second and third generation Australian Jews, part of my heritage lies within the shifting boundaries of this country” Mr Danby

Danby (rt) learns about Torun

said. He continued, paying tribute to Jan Karski, a Polish man who gathered the first incontrovertible proof of the Nazi genocide, “Jan Karski, a righteous man who in 1940 in Warsaw joined an embryonic resistance movement.”

Danby also visited his father’s birthplace. Torun in Western Poland with Australian Ambassador Jean Dunn. The Australian ambassador’s researchers were able to point to 3 houses where Danby’s great grandfather Arnold and his grandfather Bruno lived prior to WWI. “ The family knew my father was born in Torun but no one knew of the extensive family history there.” Mr Danby said.

Torun was part of Germany, awarded to Poland by the Treaty of Versailles post WWII. “ Two local academics explained that 600 of Torun’s 800 Jews left in 1920 when it became part of Poland,” Danby added.

Only the synagogue was destroyed during WWII and the 12th and 14th Century buildings are otherwise intact.

 

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