Mar-01 Sydney: The story of William Cooper

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At Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue, Abe Schwarz together with a descendant of William Cooper will present the compelling story of an Aboriginal leader who fought for oppressed Jews.

William Cooper

William Cooper was an inspirational Aboriginal leader in New South Wales and Victoria in the early part of the 20th century and a founding secretary of the Australian Aborigines’ League.

The league was created to lobby state and federal governments on behalf of Aboriginal people.

Cooper was not only concerned with the plight of his own people but was moved by the extreme discrimination faced by other oppressed populations.

On 6 December 1938, less than a month after Kristallnacht when Jewish people were targeted in widespread rioting and looting across Germany, Cooper led a march to the German consulate in Melbourne to condemn the ‘cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government in Germany’.

German officials refused to take the written condemnation but the protest is seen by many as the only one of its kind in the world.

This event will be chaired by Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins and will be followed by a Q&A.
“William Cooper: A Man Ahead of his Time”
Sunday, 1 March, 2020 from 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Emanuel Synagogue, 7 Ocean Street, Woollahra
Bookings for this important event:


One Response to “Mar-01 Sydney: The story of William Cooper”
  1. Hilary Rubinstein says:

    “German officials refused to take the written condemnation but the protest is seen by many as the only one of its kind in the world.”
    It may be seen “by many” in that light, but they are misinformed.
    The perception that William Cooper’s protest was unique in the world is false. There were many other protests on behalf of victimised Jewry following Kristallnacht, including in Australia, but they have in effect been written out of history.
    See, for instance, the mass rally that took place in London’s Hyde Park on 12-13 November 1938 and the protests at the German Consulate in Melbourne that occurred 19 days before William Cooper’s.
    Moreover, the German Consuls’ modus operandi was to rebuff anti-Nazi protesters who turned up on their doorsteps, regardless of race.
    For further information see my article “William Cooper and Kristallnacht: Setting the Record Straig109-42ht”, Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, vol. 24, Part One, 2018, pages 109-42.

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