Nelson to headline Sydney’s Yom Hashoah commemoration

Dr Brendan Nelson. Photo: Lex Mrocki

AN injection of youth participation, a distinguished keynote speaker in Dr Brendan Nelson, and free events in three parts of Sydney that share the theme of Memorials and Memories will make for a powerful and diverse Yom Hashoah commemoration program commencing later this month.

Nelson, the director of the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra, will headline the main commemorative ceremonies – from 7pm on April 28 at Clancy Auditorium at the University of NSW, and from 7pm on April 29 at Masada College in St Ives.

Danny Hochberg, chair of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ (JBOD) Shoah Commemoration Committee, said Dr Nelson is in an ideal position to provide fascinating insights that deeply explore this year’s theme.

“He is a perfect fit to shed light on the vital role monuments and memorials have in preserving the memory of the Holocaust today, particularly when survivor numbers continue to dwindle,” Hochberg said.

“The AWM now includes a permanent exhibition on the history of the Holocaust, and Dr Nelson had a lot to do with getting it up, at a time when there was some initial controversy raised by some about its inclusion.”

There will also be lighting of memorial candles by Holocaust survivors or their descendants, prayers, and a minute’s silence will be observed. Next Generation survivor members will also be speaking.

Prior to the Clancy Auditorium event on April 28, new Holocaust awareness and education group Youth HEAR – which is dedicated to bridging the gap between Australian youth and the memory of the Holocaust – will host its own Yom Hashoah event from 4.30pm in the University of NSW’s Scientia building.

Hosted by Next Generation members, this event is supported by JBOD, the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM), the Shoah Commemoration Committee and the Susan Wakil Fellowship.

“We’re very excited about this, because it’s an opportunity for young people to be empowered and directly involved in commemorating the Shoah, and we feel that if they drive that process, it has more impact,” Hochberg said.

On April 30, the SJM will host a tekes (commemorative service) from 5.30pm at the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial in Green Park, Darlinghurst, followed by a Q&A session from 6.15pm inside the museum with Holocaust survivor Ana de Leon.

For security reasons, registration for this event is essential by sending an email to [email protected]

The focus will shift to Rookwood Cemetery from 10.30am on Sunday, May 5, when a memorial and name reading service will be held at the Martyrs’ Memorial, which was designed by the late Harry Seidler.