Survivors and Descendants
In the aftermath of the Second World War, about 30,000 survivors of the Nazi Holocaust migrated to Australia and settled mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. Survivors and their families have been very active in both the Australian Jewish and the wider community making significant contributions in the professions, the arts, business and politics. They value the freedom, opportunities and democracy which are cornerstones of Australian life, particularly given their experiences in the Europe of the Holocaust. Many survivors act as volunteer guides at the Sydney Jewish Museum serving as a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust.
There are a number of Jewish organizations in Sydney catering for the needs of survivors of the Holocaust. These include the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, JewishCare, the Council on Aging, the Child Survivors Group, B'nai B'rith and the New South Jewish Board of Deputies through its Shoah Remembrance Committee. These organizations are involved in various educational and commemorative functions throughout the year, including Yom Hashoah and the Days of Holocaust Awareness, commemoration of Kristallnacht (the infamous Night of Broken Glass) and remembrance of the liberation of various concentration and death camps.
The Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants was established after an International Gathering of Holocaust survivors in 1983. Its charter is to represent the views of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, to cooperate with other organizations and individuals in opposing Nazi and Fascist philosophy, activities and injustices, to foster the memory of Jewish Holocaust survivors, to assist and cooperate with educational programs on the Holocaust, to assist in acquiring and maintaining artefacts and memorabilia from the Holocaust period, to assist in cooperation with other institutions in providing solace and comfort for Jewish Holocaust survivors who are lonely and distressed and to encourage and participate in Holocaust memorialisation. The Association has approximately 750 members comprising survivors, their descendants and some interested and supportive members of the Jewish Community.
JewishCare in cooperation with the Association began Club 50, a monthly lunch program for survivors comprising guest speakers and activities. This is enjoyed by all who attend and has led to the establishment of the Club 50 Drop in Centre to cater for the needs of survivors who wish to mix with their peers in day-to-day activities. It is hoped that this will continue to grow with facilities to interest all tastes.
The office of the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants is situated at Beit Hashoah, Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst 2010. Phone: 9361 3678.
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