Yom Hashoah in Sydney

April 16, 2015 by Sabina Baunin
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Over 1200 people packed Sydney’s City Recital Hall to commemorate the passing of 70 years since the end of WWII and the liberation from the Nazi concentration camps.

Josh Frydenberg and Auschwitz survivor Lotte Weiss   Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

Josh Frydenberg and Auschwitz survivor Lotte Weiss Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

Hans Korted shows the yellow Star of David   Photo: Giselle Haber

Hans Korted shows the yellow Star of David Photo: Giselle Haber

A large contingents of diplomatic consuls joined joined members of the community in the 70 year commemoration among whom were survivors of the Holocaust and their family members. Also in attendance were many high-profile politicians including Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, Philip Ruddock and the Rev Fred Nile.

Federal Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spoke of his experiences of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where many of his family members had been killed.

Frydenberg closed his speech quoting author Elie Wiesel who wrote: “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”

Ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel with Hans Korten  Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

Ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel with Hans Korten Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

Hans Korten, the son of a Dutch couple who took in and ultimately saved the life of Marianna, a young Jewish girl, was awarded the Righteous Among Nations award on behalf of his parents. Israeli Ambassador, Shmuel Ben-Shmuel presented him with a medallion and a certificate representing Israel’s highest honour. Owing to the protection and shelter given to Marianna during the Second World War, she was given the opportunity to live a fruitful and happy life that so many did not have the opportunity to experience. Marianna’s father survived the war but her mother was murdered in the camps.

NSWJBD Presidnet Jeremy Spinak  Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

NSWJBD Presidnet Jeremy Spinak Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

During his speech, Hans showed the audience the yellow star that had been removed from Marianna’s clothing when she came to live with them in Amsterdam. To this day he has kept it as a souvenir to remember the three short years he spent growing up with her.

“The Kortens allowed Marianna to be plucked from the fate that many others including her own mother would be subjected to” said Ambassador

Michael and Linda Jaku  Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

Michael and Linda Jaku Photo: Ben Apfelbaum

Shmuel Ben-Shmuel in his speech.

NSW Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff drew the ceremony to a close by asking the audience a poignant question: “Where are we in relation to the darkest chapter in our history?”

The message was  that with the world having repeatedly experienced atrocities throughout its history, how can we as individuals reflect on this and not turn a blind eye to history as it unfolds before us?

The Chair of the Shoah Remembrance Committee of the NSWJBD Michael Jaku MC’d the event and told J-Wire: “Apart from being an amazing successful event from the community’s perspective it also served as a showcase for the many non-Jewish attendees demonstrating what our community is all about.”

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