Perth’s Jewish War Memorial turns 100

December 17, 2019 by  
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A service has been held to commemorate the centenary of the Jewish War Memorial in Kings Park, Perth on Sunday.

Patrick Gorman MP Perth Peter Katsambanis MLA Joan Hillman President JCCWA Michael Mischen MLC Senator Dean Smith

More than 80 people attended including representatives from Government, the RSL, WAJEX and members of the Jewish community.

MC David Denver introduced Joan Hillman -, president of the Jewish Community Council who welcomed everybody and spoke about the role that Rabbi David Isaac Freedman played in getting the memorial built. Rabbi Freedman was the first Australian Jewish padre to be sent to World War I in 1915.

Dr Keith Shilkin and Mr David Denver Vice President JCCWA

Dr Keith Shilkin, president of the Federal Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men & Women spoke on the history of the memorial and why Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash was able to lay the foundation stone in 1919. Although many historical articles were written that John Monash returned to Australia from World War I when he arrived in Melbourne, in fact, his return was at Fremantle three weeks earlier. Monash went from his ship in Fremantle to Kings Park and laid the memorial stone of the Jewish War Memorial.

Also at the service, two Western Australian Jewish men who were killed in the Boer War in 1901 were honoured by having a plaque with their names unveiled on the memorial.

These two men Private Herbert Abraham Solomon and Trooper Alfred Henry Marks are the only known WA Jews who died of war causes not to have their names on the memorial.

Warren Austin, president of the Western Australian Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men & Women read out the history of these two men. Both were killed in action, both in 1901, both were only 19 years old. The unveiling of the plaque was carried out by the vice-president of the Boer War Memorial Society of WA, John Sweetman.

The Kings Park Authority just recently gave permission to place a permanent plaque on the Jewish War Memorial. The Authority treats any alteration to memorials in Kings Park very seriously so they carried out an investigation using a historical architect. A permanent plaque will be in place as soon as possible.

A wreath-laying ceremony was held with the first wreaths laid by the Jewish Community Council of WA, the WA Jewish Ex-Service Men & Women and the Boer War Society. Other wreaths were laid by Federal and State Government, the Opposition and local councils.

Dr Keith Shilkin President of FAJEX and Mr Warren Austin President of WAJEX

The service concluded with Rabbi Adi Cohen reading Psalm 23 and Rabbi Daniel Lieberman reciting Kaddish. The Last Post was played by honourary bugler John Urban.

The Jewish War Memorial in Kings Park is believed to be the only Jewish war memorial, outside of Israel, to be placed in a public park in Australia.

The memorial was completed 10 years before the official Western Australian State War Memorial. It is highly revered by the Perth Jewish community. All ANZAC Day Dawn Services are held at the memorial. Being so close to the WA State War Memorial the Jewish War Memorial is visited and admired by the thousands of visitors to this beautiful site.

Report from Warren Austin President WAJEX

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