Research into Wollongong’s Bob Sredersas’ possible Nazi past

April 1, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies will work with Wollongong Council and the Sydney Jewish Museum to verify claims a major benefactor to the Wollongong Art Gallery was a member of the Nazi Party’s Schutzstaffel (SS) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD), its intelligence apparatus. 

Bob Sredersas 1976

Council Mayor Gordon Bradbery and General Manager Greg Doyle met in Sydney on Thursday with representatives from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Historian, Professor Konrad Kwiet, has been tasked with looking into Bob Sredersas’ history, will report back to the Council in due course to determine what course of action should be taken if the claims are found to be true.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark commented: “We had a very productive and cordial meeting with Wollongong Council and the Sydney Jewish Museum, and we have offered all our assistance to get to the bottom of these serious allegations.

We’re very grateful that Council met with us today. It’s a sign that they’re taking this seriously, and that is much appreciated not only by the Jewish community but by the broader Wollongong community, who deserve answers about this individual’s past.

Darren Bark added:  “This is about education and empowerment and ensuring the Wollongong community is informed about Mr Sredersas’ history.

The allegations are deeply concerning and that is why we reached out to Council for an urgent meeting to establish whether or not this person had any involvement in the Nazi Party and most concerningly, its intelligence arm.

We look forward to working with Professor Konrad Kwiet, Council and the Jewish Museum .”

From left: NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark, Wollongong Council director of community services Kerry Hunt, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, Professor Konrad Kwiet, Sydney Jewish Museum CEO Kevin Sumption and Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle.

Kevin Sumption, the CEO of the Sydney Jewish Museum said: “The Sydney Jewish Museum is the leading Australian museum in Holocaust education. The Museum offers a diverse and engaging range of virtual workshops and onsite excursions for primary and secondary school students and has hosted numerous student groups from Wollongong and surrounding regions at the Sydney Jewish Museum over the years.

The Museum takes an interest in this case as we act as a voice to the victims of the Holocaust – and support justice for those murdered.

We were pleased to meet with Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, and other council staff, along with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies this morning to offer our assistance in an investigation into Mr Sredersas’ history before he migrated to Australia.

The Museum’s Resident Historian Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet will review the evidence. Emeritus Professor Kwiet is a historian and scholar of the Holocaust, having worked in universities, museums and research centres around the world, including Heidelberg, Israel, and Berlin. He has a PhD in Nazi policy, having lectured at the University of New South Wales amongst other notable Australian universities. Himself a Dutch Holocaust survivor, he was the Chief Historical Consultant in the Specialist Investigations Unit investigating Nazi war criminals in Australia within the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department from 1987-1994 and is ideally placed to investigate this case.

We see the opportunity in assisting Wollongong Council as one of educating the community about the history of the 27,000 Holocaust survivors who made Australia home after the Second World War.”

Bob Sredersas settled in Wollongong after immigrating from his native Lithuania. Although a steelworker, he amassed enough money to establish a valuable art collection which he gave to Wollongong Council. A former councillor Michael Samaras investigated Bob’s background which points to his alleged involvement in the killing of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

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