New Book on William Cooper

September 16, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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A new book has been written about William Cooper, the Aboriginal who lead a march to the German Consulate to protest Kristellnacht in 1938…one of the few recorded protests world-wide.


This book is primarily about a pioneering Aboriginal Christian man called William Cooper of the Yorta Yorta tribe of the Murray River in south-east Australia. But it is also a little about me as a white woman married into an Aboriginal family and living in the north east of Australia, thousands of kilometres away. It is also part history as William lived and breathed the history of his people and worked for their “uplift” as he called it. I also immersed myself in the same purpose a generation later. I would have loved to have met this inspiring man but he died a decade before I was born.

But my husband Norman and I were privileged to meet his family, led by his grandson Alf (Uncle Boydie) Turner and Kevin Russell, William’s great grandson in December 2011 in, of all places, Israel, where William was honoured by Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum for having led the only known private protest in the world against Kristallnacht. It was the Night of the Broken Glass when Jewish people were killed and their homes, business and synagogues were attacked in 1938 by the Nazis in Germany and Austria. Because of my love for the Aboriginal people and for Israel, I became fascinated with his story and wanted more people to know about it. Norman and I have been telling his story to whoever would listen since 2000. Now I am privileged to tell it to a wider audience.


One Response to “New Book on William Cooper”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    What an extraordinary act of empathy and vision by William Cooper of the Yorta Yorta clan. To be so far removed by distance and culture and yet care enough to privately protest Kristallnacht shows such imagination and intellectual clarity. Unfortunately, William Cooper’s was a voice in the dark in 1938. Imagine the difference that might have been made if during those terrible War years European governments, the American Government, the Pope and other figures of influence had had the resolve of William Cooper. Cooper puts them to shame.

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