Aboriginal story features in U.S. Jewish calendar

July 3, 2012 by  
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A  Jewish calendar  for 5773 (2012 to 2013) recently published in the United States and circulated internationally  highlights the story of Aboriginal activist William Cooper’s compassionate and courageous march through the streets of Melbourne to protest against the Nazi persecution of Jews on and following Kristallnacht, in November 1938. His story appears above the November page of the calendar.

Lisa Sarzin

With the permission of the Cooper family, Sydney lawyer and writer Lisa Sarzin wrote and submitted the text to the calendar’s publishers in the United States, as she strongly believes William Cooper’s story has international significance as an inspiring example of courage and compassion, at a time when so many were silent.

Lisa’s text, headlined Kristallnacht, reads:

‘William Cooper, an Aboriginal man from Yorta Yorta country, Australia, worked tirelessly to advance the civil rights of Indigenous Australians. In November 1938, Cooper read a small newspaper article about Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, which took place in Austria and Germany. Motivated by a sense of compassion for the down-trodden and persecuted, he drafted a petition calling upon the Nazi government to stop the ill-treatment of Jews. A month later, alongside fellow activists, he marched through the streets of Melbourne to deliver the petition to the German Consulate. He found the doors locked, and his delegation was denied entry. Nevertheless, Cooper left the petition at the door. His courage and compassion, at a time when many were silent, are honoured at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.”


5 Responses to “Aboriginal story features in U.S. Jewish calendar”
  1. Abe says:

    Hello to Carmel Middletent:
    My friend has a copy of this calander, and I will happily find out where to source you a copy. I quoted this page at the Jewish Holocaust Centre function in Melbourne on December 6th last, when we launched Barbara Miller’s book on William Cooper.
    Carmel, I am intruiged by your stated shared heritage, and am part-way through writing a book which includes some amazing similarities between Jewish and Aboriginal spirituality and traditions, and have incorporated some pen-portraits – perhaps we could discuss your inclusion also??

    Please be in contact via catalystenterprises@hotmail.com

    Thank you

  2. Peter says:

    Hi Hilary. The Hobart Hebrew Congregation paid tribute to Critchley Parker Jnr in a feature piece in the Hobart Mercury on Sunday 21 February 2010. It’s not avaialble online but I can email you a scanned copy if you send me your email address.

  3. Carmel Middletent says:

    Hi,I am inquiring in reguards to your story about William Cooper and the Jewish Calender,how I can receive the calender. I live in the United States,so where could I receive one here? My blood is of Jewish and Australian Aboriginal,i grew up in Australia but moved to the US when I was younger and communicate the Hebrew Bible through my Australian Aboriginal Art. Look forward to hearing back from you.


    Carmel Middletent.

  4. Without in any way wishing to deny William Cooper’s moving and meritorious act nor the belated, posthumous recognition he has rightly obtained, I can’t help but regret that there’s scant recognition for the young Critchley Parker, who conceived a plan for a Jewish refugee settlement in a remote portion of Tasmania, perishing in the attempt to make his grand vision a reality. As far as I’m aware, there’s been no recognition of any kind by the Australian Jewish community for this Anglo-Saxon 25-year-old philosemite who died in the Jewish cause – and I find that rather sad.

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