Yom Hashoah in Melbourne

April 17, 2015 by David Marlow
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In a very moving and meaningful ceremony at the Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash University, the annual Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) Yom Hashoah Commemoration was held to a packed auditorium. 

Max Stern   Photo: Peter Haskin

Max Stern Photo: Peter Haskin

About 1300 members of the Melbourne Jewish community joined with members of parliament, community leaders and consuls general to remember the six million who had been murdered in the Holocaust.

Jennifer Huppert, spoke with heartfelt emotion in her first Yom Hashoah as JCCV President.

Jacob  Photo: Peter Haskin

Jacob Zylberstein  with descendants   Photo: Peter Haskin

Prayers, evocative speakers and an emotive audio-visual presentation brought the pain and suffering of the Shoah to the audience, while the highlight was a very moving, personal and educational witness testimony from Holocaust Survivor Max Stern.

Youth involvement was greater than ever realised before with young speakers, singers, prayer recitations and a combined schools choir.  This clearly helped to bring young Jewish Melbourne into the commemoration in a prominent and permanent fashion, while representatives of youth groups lit remembrance candles alongside Survivor candle lighters.

In this 70 year commemoration since liberation from the flames of the Shoah, the importance of fighting intolerance, racism and religious intolerance were highlighted.  The difficulties faced by Survivors after liberation were explored and the miracle of Israel as a Jewish homeland were celebrated.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews sent this message: “On Yom HaShoah, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora come together to commemorate six million innocent souls that were lost at the hands of history’s greatest atrocity.

After World War II, Australia became a home for the most Holocaust survivors per capita of any nation.

They helped us understand the horrors of the past and they helped us build the harmonious society of our present.

Today, our Government stands side-by-side with the members of Victoria’s Jewish community, most of whom, some seventy years ago, lost a part of their family and all of whom lost a part of their whole.”

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