Holocaust survivor to address Aboriginal event

September 3, 2017 by Community Editor
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Dreaming of Freedom will honour William Cooper, a legendary Aboriginal leader who was concerned not just with the plight of his own people but saw fit in 1938 to protest to the German government about the treatment of the Jews following the horrors of Kristallnacht.

Eddie Jaku

The event is a forerunner to next year’s major commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Aboriginal Day of Sorrow and of Kristallnacht.

On January 26, 1938, William Cooper walked up the steps of 150 Elizabeth Street in Sydney. At 77 years of age, he was about to begin a meeting that would begin a nation-wide indigenous justice movement. Almost all breakthroughs for Aboriginal people can be traced back to that day.On September 7, 2017, William Cooper’s last remaining grandchild will walk into that famous meeting place – the now perfectly restored Australian Hall, to explain how he is trying to complete the work his grandfather began.Joining him will be leaders from the same community groups who meant so much to William Cooper in his day. The Indigenous community, Christians, Jewish people and leaders from the Labor movement.

William Cooper

It will be anight to look back at a day of giants. We will have pithy three minute talks from grandchildren of several people who were there on the day. And we will hear from each of the community groups as to how much William Cooper means to them – including the testimony of Eddie Jaku one of the last remaining adult Holocaust survivors in Australia.

You’ll hear about all the great ones of that great day. Of Jack Patten, perhaps the most colourful writer of the era, drove the agenda. William Ferguson, who took a stand, giving hints of the day he would be the first black man to run for parliament. Doug Nicholls, who built a following, indicating the statesman he would become as the first and only Aboriginal to receive two knighthoods and be given a vice regal role. Margaret Tucker, who engaged the discussion with the energy she later showed in her writing – a memoir that would launch the Stolen Generations inquiry. Pearl Gibbs, who showed a flair for politics that would later make her a leading force in the most successful referendum in Australian history. And you’ll hear of the beloved Tom Foster, who wrote hymns that would keep his language preserved forever.

This is an informal event. It’s a chance for people who are serious about the heritage of the Indigenous justice movement to meet, and to meet with interest groups you may never find at academic settings. Proceeds cover hall hire, drinks and finger food. But all profits go to Uncle Boydie’s next great challenge – to take the story of William Cooper to the Middle East then on to the heart of Europe.

Thursday, September 7 at 6:00pm

Australian Hall, 150 Elizabeth St, Sydney.



One Response to “Holocaust survivor to address Aboriginal event”
  1. Chris Logan says:

    almost all break throughs can be traced back to that day, you lost me there and im a First Australian that has studied history

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