Josh Frydenberg at Auschwitz

January 28, 2015 by Henry Benjamin
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Among the world dignitaries attending the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was Australian Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.More than 300 survivors attended the ceremony which was also attended by distinguished guests including Ronald S. Lauder president of  the World Jewish Congress, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Dutch King Willem Alexander and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski who said that the Germans had made Poland “a cemetery for the Jews”.

Josh Frydenberg at Auschwitz

Josh Frydenberg at Auschwitz

Frydenberg, the Liberal member for Kooyong lost family members in the Holocaust. He told J-Wire: “It  was extremely emotional. It’s hard to fathom what actually transpired there. What struck me was the industrial scale and the clinical nature of the camps.

The ceremony itself was done really well with an incredibly strong attendance by world leaders and the survivors’ message was very pointed. We cannot allow antisemitism to rear its ugly head and in that respect their message was ‘we don’t our past to be our children’s future’.”

Frydenberg also visited some of the relics of the Holocaust on permanent exhibition at Auschwitz. He added: “I saw the shoes and the hair and the glasses and the suitcases of the victims and it was just horrific.”

J-Wire asked Frydenberg how if being at Auschwitz impacted on him more strongly than in the past given that Jewish communities around the world are more than aware of its existence and its evil history. He responded: “Yes, it did. Yes it did. So many members of the Jewish community have been affected by the Holocaust both directly and indirectly it’s our collective obligation to continue to honour the dead and to do whatever we can to speak out against antisemitism and prejudice wherever it may occur.”

Josh Frydenberg was accompanied to Auschwitz by Jean Dunn,  Australia’s ambassador to Poland.

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