Reading between the lines

November 2, 2015 by Natalia Thomas
Read on for article

Moving letters showcasing the extraordinary words of ordinary people who wrote to family and loved ones during periods of conflict have been the subject of a special event at the Sydney Jewish Museum, entitled  ‘Reading Between the Lines’.

Lindt Café Siege Survivor Louisa Hope and friend Rob de Ridder

Lindt Café Siege Survivor Louisa Hope and friend Rob de Ridder

The conflicts included the First and Second World Wars and those in Iraq, East Timor and Afghanistan.

Holocaust Survivors, servicemen, veterans, family and friends participated in the readings which highlighted the importance of the written word, sometimes the only memory left of those who did not survive.

The correspondence was submitted by both Museum members and the wider community.

A highlight of the afternoon was a special reading of messages shared by Lindt Café Siege Survivor Louisa Hope and her friend,  Rob de Ridder.

 Allison Wisheart shares objects from the First World War

Allison Wisheart shares objects from the First World War

Louisa and Rob became acquainted via text messages during the three months that Louisa spent recovering after sustaining a bullet wound in the foot when the police stormed the café.

She said  that Rob’s texts and prayers had been a great comfort to her while she recovered . Louisa an Rob had never met before the event, and it was incredibly moving for the audience to see them come face to face for the first time.


Diane Armstrong

Diane Armstrong

Museum CEO Norman Seligman said “The feedback from this event has just been extraordinary, including an email from one audience member who said that the powerful and emotional experience would stay with her forever. We are grateful to all those who submitted and read letters and who took part in this celebration of the written word.”


Signs of Life – Letters and Postcards of the Holocaust is open now at the Museum.


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