Grandson of Aboriginal activist may attend Kristallnacht commemoration

August 8, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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The Government of Germany may invite the grandson of William Cooper, Alf Turner (Uncle Boydie) to attend the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht or Night of the Broken Glass later this year.

This was the pogrom in Germany and Austria generally accepted as the start of the Holocaust.

Cooper's petition to the King

Cooper’s petition to the King


Lance James, Norman and Barbara Miller and Uncle Boydie outside Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative’s health centre at Mooroopna, Victoria.

William Cooper’s biographer, Barbara Miller and her husband, Aboriginal leader Norman Miller, are working with Uncle Boydie and his team to help him finish his grandfather’s business. In Brisbane, Barbara will launch her book “William Cooper, Gentle Warrior: Standing Up for Australian Aborigines and Persecuted Jews” at Avid Reader bookshop, 193 Boundary St at 6-8pm 13 August.

Mrs Miller said “Uncle Boydie fulfilled part of his dream to finish William Cooper’s business on 6 December last year when my book was launched in Melbourne on the 74th anniversary of his grandfather’s protest to the German Consulate. Cooper led the Australian Aborigines League on a walk from his Footscray home to the German Consulate but they would not receive the letter of protest. I organised with the current German Consul in Melbourne to receive a copy of this letter from Uncle Boydie at the exact site where the Consulate was in 1938 and a large group of Aborigines, Jews, Christians and other citizens re-enacted that walk to help him deliver it. The German Consul is working on the invitation to Germany as a follow up.”

“We are helping Uncle Boydie to fulfil one more part of his grandfather’s business and the project team is calling it “Uncle Boydie’s Dream” and that is to deliver by hand or otherwise to the Queen of England a petition” said Mrs Miller. “It is the 75th anniversary of William Cooper’s attempt to send to King George V, grandfather to the present Queen, and then King George VI, a petition requesting assistance to stop the Aboriginal race from dying out and for Aboriginal representation in Parliament, land and legal rights etc.”

Mrs Miller said “The petition was not sent to the King by the Australian cabinet because Aborigines were British subjects but not Australian citizens. From that disappointment sprang the Day of Mourning on the 150th anniversary of white settlement held in Sydney on 26 January 1938 led by Cooper and others, Aboriginal Sunday, initiated by Cooper in 1940 which evolved into NAIDOC and the campaign for the 1967 referendum for Aborigines to be counted in the census led by Cooper’s nephew Ps Sir Doug Nicholls and others.”

“Uncle Boydie and his team are gathering signatures around Australia with the plan to gather 1814 signatures, the same number that William Cooper had, on a copy of the same petition he was prevented from presenting in 1938” said Miller. “Some things have changed and some haven’t. He hopes to then go from the Kristallnacht event in Germany to London to present the petition to the Queen.”

“William Cooper and Alf Turner (Uncle Boydie) are both history makers and I am privileged to tell their story” said Mrs Miller. Norman and I hope to travel with Uncle Boydie to Germany and England and I will be making my book available to an international audience.”

The commemoration in Germany will take place on 9 November


One Response to “Grandson of Aboriginal activist may attend Kristallnacht commemoration”
  1. Marianne says:

    Can I ask a favour?
    I’m a Hungarian-Jew woman, born in 1935 at Budapest, Hungary.
    My Father, Grandfather and many relatives was killed in the Holocaust.
    But there are some relatives who are living in Australia, Sydney.
    I haven’t any address or another knowledge of them.
    I only know the name of

    Judy Shimmel, who after the II. worldwar went to Sydney with her parents. She was at this time cca. 14 y.o. She and her Mom came to us for saying goodby and Judy has got me her doll with many little doll’th clothes.

    I don’t know, she is alive or not.
    She never wright for me.

    I should very happy if you help me try to find her.
    When she and her parents were at Budapest, they were very good contact with my parents. My Mother’s name was Ilona Hajnal.
    My Father’s name was Árpád Schwarczman.
    My name was Annie Schwarczman.
    If at all, she remember me on this name.

    Thank you very much!

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