Garry lectured Germans on the Holocaust

September 30, 2021 by Henry Benjamin
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Garry Fabian was eight years old when he was incarcerated at Theresienstadt in 1942 where he survived WWII and the experience was instrumental in his visiting Germany eight times later in life to deliver lectures on the horrors of wartime Europe.

Garry Fabian [left] receiving his award

Recently Liberal MP Tim Wilson addressed the Australian parliament following the presentation of the  Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, known as the Verdienstorden, to 87-yr-old Fabian.
The Caulfield South resident told J-Wire: “I have spoken to schools, community groups and a couple of teachers colleges in Stuttgart and surrounding areas, in Berlin, Braunschweig and in April this year I had a zoom session with a school in  Heilbron. The reception was always very welcoming, and on each occasion, after the formal address students came up to me and told me that while they are learning about the Holocaust to be able to talk to someone who was there, “a Zeizeuge”, gave them a much clearer understanding of what actually took place.
I believe that this is the reason for receiving the Verdiestorden recognising my contribution.”
The eight visits were spanned over the last 30 years. On each visit, there was extensive press and TV coverage.
He explained: “During the four years the Theresienstadt Ghetto existed some 15,000 children under 14 were incarcerated there. At the end of the war, around 150 survived.
I arrived in Australia in 1947 with my family and settled in Melbourne.”
In Australia, Garry Fabian was a guide at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance for the last 7 years and was involved with Courage to Care and the Melbourne Holocaust Centre.
In Federal Parliament, Tim Wilson said: “It takes an extraordinary individual to turn tragedy into teaching.
That is why we celebrate the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Verdienstorden, being awarded to South Caulfield resident Garry Fabian.
Resulting from the Nuremberg Laws, Garry’s family migrated between Germany, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia and Moravia to avoid persecution. At the age of eight, he and his family were interned at the Theresienstadt ghetto for three years until the camp was liberated in 1945.
Of the 15,000 children interned, only 150 survived. Two years later, his family emigrated to Australia. Yet, despite the horror, over 30 years Garry returned to Germany to educate the next generation on lessons of the past.
His mission has been to build bridges of understanding between generations. In 2002, he published his autobiography, A Look Back Over My Shoulder, narrating a life deeply affected by the Holocaust but not defeated by it.
Congratulations, Garry, your exceptional resilience inspires all of us and your efforts to ensure history’s lessons do not befall another generation are a critical part of building a better future for all.”
In his book, Garry Fabian wrote of the Holocaust “Very soon it will become just another dusty chapter of history with no human element in it. We may forgive one day, but we must never forget”.
Tim Wilson is the Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein

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