Julius Nadel passes away at 101

February 2, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Australian Jewish community has lost one of its most valued sons when Julian Nadel passed away in Sydney on Thursday night at the age of 101.

Julius Nadel celebrates his 100th birthday

The following is the text of the eulogy delivered by Rabbi Motti Feldman at the funeral held at Sydney’s Chevra Kadisha today.

“Yulek Nadel, known to all of us as Julius, was born in Cracow, Poland, on the 8th of June 1918. He was 101 years old. He was the second child born to Moshe and Sara Nadel, a brother to older sister Matilda and younger sister Anna. The Nadel family lived in the Jewish section of Cracow and the children attended a government elementary school where the majority of students were Jewish.

Julius’ father was a professional officer in the Polish Army, and died when Julius was only 12 years old. As Julius grew up, he attended the Zionist youth movement Betar which nurtured his lifelong love for Israel.  At 17, Julius reported for compulsory service in the Polish army where he and other Jewish soldiers were regularly victimized. This just increased his determination to become a stronger person not only physically but also mentally.

Soon after the German Army invaded Poland, Julius was taken prisoner, but managed to escape. He found safety with the newly formed Polish underground who overlooked his religion because of his invaluable army training and knowledge. Towards the end of 1942, Julius was captured again by the Germans and transported to the Mauthausen concentration camp, and then to the camp in Gusen where he spent 18 months until he was liberated by American paratroopers in 1944.

Julius always credited his army training and the discipline it instilled in him for helping to endure the hardships in the camps. His mother and older sister, however, did not survive and were slaughtered in the concentration camps.

Due to his officer status, Julius was recruited by the American Army and underwent intelligence training for the CIA in Frankfurt, Germany. He was involved in many secret missions all over Europe, and I am sure that many of you have heard the amazing stories that Julius told about his many covert operations for the Americans.

At the same time, he also became heavily involved with the Jewish organisation called Irgun Tzva Leumi, whose main aim in war-torn Europe was to organise Jewish survivors dedicated to the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel.

Towards the end of 1945 Julius was able to use his position to reunite with his surviving younger sister Anna. Unbeknown to the Americans, Julius was also involved in weapons training in displaced persons camps for young concentration camp survivors in preparation for their new lives in the future Jewish State of Israel.

It had always been Julius’ desire to also settle in Israel, but due to his commitment with the Jewish underground movement, he continued his dual roles in Germany.

Julius’ love for Israel never faded over the years, and to highlight this, Julius gave Robert an Israeli flag and an Israeli officer’s cap which he made him promise to place on his coffin when he passed away. This has been done to fulfil his wishes.

Soon after being discharged from the American Army, Julius was given a permit to travel to Australia and arrived in Sydney in April 1949. In return for his passage Julius was contracted to work for the Australian Government for 2 years.

On April 24, 1951, Julius met his late wife Lita Singer, a fellow Polish refugee, and they began a courtship that resulted in their marriage on February 17, 1952 at the Central Synagogue. In November 1954, the first of their three daughters, Louise, was born, followed 2 years later by Sandra, and then Lessley who was born in 1962.

Julius became involved in various businesses over the years including the rag trade and eventually went into property development.  Due to his hard work and the loving support of his wife Lita, who he fondly called Litush, the family prospered, and Julius was able to achieve a measure of financial security which was so important to him and Lita after their experiences during the war.

Although a very humble man, Julius was very proud of his achievements in the construction of many apartment buildings and other building projects around the Balmain, Leichhardt and Annandale areas in Sydney. His no-nonsense attitude enabled him to improve the living standards in those areas, and increase their popularity.

Due to his army background and specialist training with the CIA, Julius was recruited by the heads of the Sydney Jewish community to assist with security matters within the community.

He became a diligent member of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies for many years, and took his communal responsibilities very seriously. Julius also became the liaison between the Board of Deputies and the Australian Federal Police, and coordinated security protocols for many years for visiting Israeli government officials including that of General Moshe Dayan.

In the book written by Suzanne Rutland and Sophie Capla on The History of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, they describe Julius as a “character who constantly enlivened board debates”!

He also played an active role on the boards of the New South Wales Association of Ex-Servicemen, the Jewish War Memorial organisation, the UIA, the JCA and the COA.

In 1976 Julius was honoured by the Israeli Ministry of Defence by being formally recognised as a “Fighter for the State of Israel” and decorated with the ‘Irgun Etzel Award’, an honour for which he was extremely proud.

Julius and Lita devoted themselves to their three daughters who all received good secular and Jewish educations and pursued tertiary qualifications. They all grew up with strong desires and commitments to what they believed in, and carried through with their own individual life goals.

Julius and Lita were both ideal role models, and Julius’ strength of purpose was easy to see in his daughters. They all went on to marry and present Julius and Lita with boundless nachas with 8 grandchildren – Ezi, Ilana, Doobi, Tili, Ariela, Dandan, Dudu and Hugo, who till now have produced 16 great-grandchildren.

Sadly, tragedy entered the lives of Julius and Lita in 2002 with the untimely death of two of their daughters within a short space of time; Dr Louise Fisher in Israel and Lesley Schnall in Sydney. Their respective families and friends were also devastated beyond belief, as they were devoted mothers, loving wives, and active members of their Jewish communities.

Once again Julius had to find inner strength to deal with these tragic events, and with the help of Lita they started to focus more and more on their grandchildren.

Julius was known to say that probably the proudest moment in his life was when his eldest grandson became an officer in the Israeli army. It combined the most important aspects of his own life; Yiddishkite, family, discipline and honour.

This was Julius in a nutshell – a vehemently proud Jew; an intensely loving and proud husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather; a fervent believer in law and order; and a man of his word.

Many here would possibly have experienced him first as a down-to-earth businessman, which then led to life-long friendships. This is a fairly rare occurrence in the field of business, but that was Julius. He formed such close business relationships with people who became his friends, that often they would finalise large property deals with a handshake.

Many here would also attest to his generosity to a variety of charitable organisations, and to his kindness and honest approach to dealing with people in general.

Julius was a larger-than-life character. He knew how to work hard, play hard, and enjoy life. He did not mince words. When he spoke, you listened. If you were smart, you would internalise what he said to you, because foremost he was a teacher; a teacher with a wealth of experience, knowledge and a genuine desire to help you to get where you wanted to go, or where he believed you should be going.

We will all miss him.”

Julius Nadel

Born: June 8, 1918 Kracow, Poland.  Died:  January 30, 2020 Sydney, Australia.

This eulogy was prepared by Julius’ long-time friend Robert Gescheit, with inclusions taken from an article written about 15 years ago by Ariella Schnall, one of Julius’ 8 grandchildren.



One Response to “Julius Nadel passes away at 101”
  1. Rabbi Chaim Ingram says:

    A great stalwart of our community has departed from our midst. He was a “ben Moshe” in every sense. To the end, his inner eye was not dimmed, nor was his inner strength diminished.

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