Melbourne identity passes away

June 10, 2013 by  
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Holocaust survivor and Melbourne identity Avram Zeleznikow has died.

Avram Zeleznikow

Avram Zeleznikow

The Vilna Ghetto survivor and partisan fighter whose restaurant in Melbourne became a meeting place for the postwar survivor community passed away on Saturday. He was 89.

Zeleznikow waded through 50 kilometers of sewers to escape the ghetto in 1943 and join the partisans. he was the sole survivor of his family.

After the war, he and his wife-to-be Masha met in a Parisian cafe named Scheherazade, and soon after emigrating to Australia they opened their own Cafe Scheherazade, which became an iconic institution on Acland Street, St Kilda.
His son John said his parents served meals even to those survivors who could not afford to pay.

”He did not want to make a profit, he wanted to help people,” John Zeleznikow was quoted as saying in The Age newspaper.
”They would talk, they would eat and they would argue. He provided sustenance for the body and sustenance for the soul.”

A Bundist, he taught Yiddish at Sunday school, was president of the Australian Jewish Welfare and Relief Society, on the executive of the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies, chairman of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and a representative of the Jewish community on the Ethnic Communities Council.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2003 “for service to the Jewish community of Victoria.”

David Marlow, Executive Director of the The Jewish Community Council of Victoria told J-Wire: “Cafe Scheherazade was a Melbourne Jewish institution.  A place where Jews from central and eastern Europe could come for familiar food, familiar accents and good discussion.  Whether outside on Acland Street, or inside having a fress, you’d hear Polish, Hungarian and German Jewish accents and not a little Yiddish.  My grandmother had an apartment on the corner of Acland Street and Fitzroys Street from before the war until the 1970s.  It was a very familar place for my family and many others over generations.”

Comments

2 Responses to “Melbourne identity passes away”
  1. David says:

    Please note that the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) will be hosting a Shloshim service for Mr Abram Zeleznikow, an icon of the Victorian Jewish community, at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre at 7:30pm on Tuesday 23 July. All are welcome.

  2. David says:

    Cafe Scheherazade was a Melbourne Jewish institution. A place where Jews from central and eastern Europe could come for familiar food, familiar accents and good discussion. Whether schmoozing outside on Acland Street, or inside having a fress, you’d hear Polish, Russian and German Jewish accents and not a little Yiddish. My grandmother had an apartment on the corner of Acland Street and Fitzroys Street from before the war until well into the 1970s. It was a very familar place for my family and many others over generations.

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