Aboriginal activist honored in Israel

April 28, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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William Cooper, an Aboriginal who demonstrated in Melbourne in 1938 against Kristellnacht, was honored in Jerusalem today.

On November 9, 1938, 91 Jews were murdered as Nazis went on a rampage throughout Germany following the assassination of Ernst Vom Rath by Herschel Grynzpan. Kristellnacht spelt the destruction of more than 200 syngagogues and initiated the Nazi  Final Solution…a plan devised to murder the entire Jewish population.

JNF Deputy Chairman Menachem Leibobitz, Alfred Cooper, Ambassador James Larson

JNF Deputy Chairman Menachem Leibobitz, Alfred Cooper, Ambassador James Larson

News of Kristellnacht made little impact on the world’s community but on December 6, 1938, William Cooper, the founder of The Australian Aborigines’ League, led a group of protesters to the German Consulate in Melbourne to demonstrate against the wholesale slaughter of the German Jews. They carried with them a resolution calling for an end to the “cruel persecution” of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany. The group was ignored by the Germans.

But the Australian community did not forget and this morning 70 trees were planted  in Cooper’s name and a plaque dedicated to his memory in the Martyrs’ Forest near Jerusalem. Cooper’s grandson Alfred was present at the ceremony as well as JNF officials and James Larsen, the Australian Ambassador to Israel.

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