Beyond Duty: an exhibition review by Alan Slade

February 16, 2020 by Alan Slade
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The exhibition in the lobby of the NSW State Parliament House titled “Beyond Duty” is a must-see for everyone, especially families of Holocaust survivors.

The exhibition is a series of panels around the walls of the impressive space as you enter the building and is a joint project of NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Israeli Embassy.

The project was created by the State of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and curated by Yad Vashem.

At first glance, one is tempted to gloss past, browsing the titles.

Please take the time to start at the beginning, which, counter-intuitively, is to your right as you enter. The exhibit summarises the brave, risky actions of 34 non-Jewish diplomats from 20 countries, who have been named “Righteous Among the Nations” for saving the lives of mainly Jewish potential victims of the Nazis.

Of the moving statements made to Yad Vashem, the most impressive was “If I could have, I would have saved all of them. But unfortunately, that was beyond my competence.” by Selahattin Ülkümen, then Turkish Consul General on the island of Rhodes, in a letter to Yad Vashem in 1989.

The two acknowledged diplomats familiar to Australians, Raoul Wallenberg and Chiune Sugihara are featured. Entry to the exhibit is free to all.

A fitting conclusion to your visit is lunch (which is not free) in the Strangers dining room overlooking the Domain.

The exhibition will run until February 28..

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