Lowy fights back tears at Auschwitz

April 9, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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Shopping centre magnate Frank Lowy fought back tears as he told a hushed March of the Living at Auschwitz the story of his father Hugo who was murdered close to the spot from where the Westfield co-founder made his address.

Sydney-based Lowy said that he had dreams about his father’s fate for fifty years before a chance encounter with an unrelated Lowy who had witnessed his father’s death revealed how Hugo had been killed.

Before Lowy spoke, the MOTL organisers showed a short documentary detailing how Lowy learned of his father’s fate and dramatic details of how and for what reason Hugo Lowy lost his life at Auschwitz Birkenau.

Below are Internet footage of the soundtrack of the documentary and Lowy’s address.

The documentary…the story of Hugo Lowy

This year’s March of the Living was attended by thousands of young Jews in their teens and marked the 70th anniversary of the Warso Ghetto Uprising, the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel and the 25th anniversary of the March of the Living. Since its inception, more than 150,000 members of world wide Jewish youth have participated in the walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau.

A survivor told of a Yom Kippur at Auschwitz when 800 women staged a Kol Nidre service with one siddur and one candle saying there was not a dry eye in the building.

The participants were entertained by Israeli star Dudu Fischer, were addressed by Rabbi Yisroel Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and by, via video link, Israel’s president Shimon Peres.

Lowy’s address…

Following Lowy’s impassioned address during which he told the youthful crowd that “your mother and father always matter” six torches were lit to commemorate the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis. Lowy’s three sons, David, Steven and Peter were given the honour of lighting one.

Also talking at the MOTL were head of the IDF Benny Gantz and the president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder who made it abundantly clear that the future was in the hands of the young Jews whom he was addressing. He said that “there was no room in this world for anti-Semitism”.


El Male Rachamim was sung the cantor of the Central Synagogue, Lowy’s home shul in Sydney. Shimon Farkus sung with his son Dov and later joined survivors in reciting Kaddish.

Following the ceremony the Lowy family joined the Australian MOTL student contingent for a ‘private’ one in a small clearing under a nearby group of birch trees.  Lowy’s granddaughter Rina delivered a moving account which described how they discovered the way in which her great grandfather had died which was followed by the reading of an emotional poem entitled ‘To Forget’ read by Natalie Shofer, another student participant, from Sydney. Lowy and his family sat opposite them on a bench, tears welling up in his eyes as he listened quietly to the students. He commented afterwards about the day’s events, ‘It’s moving beyond explanation. It’s very emotional. I’m grateful for all the support.’

44 Australian students attended this year’s March of the Living from Sydney Melbourne and Perth. 24 adults also participated from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Australians begin the March Photo: Emmanuel Santos

Australians begin the March
Photo: Emmanuel Santos

MOTL 2013 was a highly emotionally charged event this year when a personal story showed the power of faith and the effect it had had on one man.


Footage from Livestream.com



One Response to “Lowy fights back tears at Auschwitz”
  1. Naomi says:

    Each of us must fight back tears as we hear about the courage of Frank Lowy’s remarkable father. Hugo Lowy would have been so proud of all that his son has become and of the grandchildren and great-grandchild he was so tragically deprived of knowing. Through Frank’s love and his beautiful words, Hugo Lowy lives in all our hearts.

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