Tracing her Jewish roots and reaching for new heights

May 5, 2009 by J-Wire
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Queensland Councillor Hajnal Ban is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor and a woman who had her legs broken to increase her height.

Hajnal Ban    Photo: Lime.net.au

Hajnal Ban Photo: Lime.net.au

A member of the Logan City Council, the Israeli-born councillor told J-Wire that although she is not Jewish, she feels a strong link to the people and in particular to Israel where she was born. Her Hungarian parents left Afula when Ban was 3, moving to Austria for three years before migrating to Queensland where she has lived since.

Ban told J-Wire: “I heard people talking about a UK case of where someone had their legs lengthened and I rushed home to check it out on the Internet.” She lived in Kurgan, Siberia for eight months during which time she was transformed from a petite 154cm to her chosen 162cm. The series of operations cost the young barrister $40,000 and involved deliberately breaking her legs. Ban described her time in hospital as having been “very painful.” Her height 5 ft 1in increased by 3 inches.

Ban, now 31, was a 23-yr-old barrister when the operation was performed and she used the experience as material for a book which she published under a pseudonym. But now she has come out and revealed the whole story.

She said: “I attained a double degree in law at Griffith University but my mentor persuaded me to take up a career in politics.” Ban stood as a National Party candidate in the 2007 Federal election, contesting the seat of Forde…but without success. She has not ruled out a further bid.

But she is poignant on the subject of Israel and the Jewish community. She said: “My mother and I are both committed to return to the country of my birth as soon as possible. There is no doubt that, in spite of the fact I have been brought up in the Christian faith,  I am deeply affected by any reference to the Holocaust. My grandfather survived  but emerged an orphan. If he is a survivor, then I must be one, too. The history is haunting. I truly would love to foster the special connection I have with the Jewish people and would dearly like to make many more Jewish friends.”

Councillor Ban’s profile is accessible on Facebook.

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