Secord’s bipartisan support for Sydney Jewish Museum’s Shoah education programs

January 28, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord has thrown his bi-partisan support behind a State Government pledge to work with the Sydney Jewish Museum on its Holocaust awareness and education programs.

Holocaust survivor addresses the commemoration

On the weekend (January 27), NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes in the Daily Telegraph pledged to investigate how the Berejiklian Government could work with the Sydney Jewish Museum.

State Labor Opposition Arts spokesman and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair, Walt Secord also threw his bi-partisan support behind the pledge.

Mr Secord made the comments on Sunday afternoon after attending the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day – and The 73rd anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

“In NSW, almost 30,000 school children a year learn about the Shoah and the murder of six million Jews. This is because of the tireless work of the Sydney Jewish Museum and the first-hand testimony of Holocaust survivors; it is incredibly important work,” Mr Secord said.

Mr Secord said he believed State and Federal government funding should be provided to the museum to continue its work on educating about the Shoah.

(The date was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the UNGA marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust)

Mr Secord said Sydney commemoration was a “deeply moving event”.

It comprised the lighting of candles by six Holocaust survivors to symbolise the murder of six million Jews – and the personal accounts from four Sydney-based Auschwitz survivors – Olga Horak, Yvonne Engelman, Kuba Enoch and Eddie Jaku. (Mr Jaku is 98 years old.)

“They spoke beautifully about their survival and their migration to Australia where they married, build their lives and raised children, grand-children and great-grand children,” Mr Secord said.

Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Descendants (AAJHS&D) president Peter Wayne, Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) president Professor Gush Lehrer and Ms Rikki Gold, representing the third generation also spoke.

AAJHS&D past president Dr George Foster recited kaddish and SJM CEO Norman Seligman read the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day message from the UN secretary general António Guterres.

Mr Secord said: “The survivors inspire and educate – and it was an honour and privilege to attend.”

(In January 2012, Mr Secord visited Auschwitz and has visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on three separate occasions.)

“With the ageing of the Holocaust survivors and the eventual loss of their first-hand testimony to the murder and atrocities of the Shoah, the work and activity of the Sydney Jewish Museum will – in coming years – be even more important.”

“I follow the study of genocides; I speak about them; I travel to their locations; I support education about them because public knowledge of genocides is the best way to prevent them.”

“My studies have shown me one thing: Any attempt to deny or cover up is the final stage of the process of genocide. Denial is the precursor to empower future perpetrators. And this is why museums like the Sydney Jewish Museum and commemorations like these are so important,” Mr Secord said.


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