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A friendship book rescued from a second-hand bookshop

A small ‘autograph book’ or ‘friendship album’ kept by a young German girl came into our possession in 2015: it had been rescued from obscurity from a second-hand bookshop in Bondi in the mid-1980s. How it came to be there one can only speculate.

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Preserving a lost religious world

These silver Judaica items tell a story of a lost religious world. They survived the Holocaust and post-war communism, and were smuggled out from Hungary to Australia, one by one, in the 1980s.

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4 lessons you can learn today from Holocaust survivors

If you are in need of inspiration today, here are words from four Holocaust survivors on resilience, perspective, happiness and humour.

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Survivor Portraits – Maurice Linker

Maurice Linker was born in 1930 in Czernowitz, Romania. Maurice and his family survived the Holocaust with the help of the Mayor of Czernowitz.

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Survivor Portraits – Beate Stricker

Beate Stricker was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1930. Beate’s father sourced the necessary papers for the family to leave immediately after Kristallnacht. Their destination was Australia.

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Kapos: collaborators, perpetrators or victims?

Kapos: collaborators, perpetrators or victims? By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian Jewish Kapos played a pivotal role in the history of the Holocaust. Imprisoned in concentration camps, Kapos were …

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Survivor Portraits – Anne Heilig

Anne Heilig was born in Berlin, Germany in 1935. Hitler had already come to power and the persecution of the Jews in Germany had begun. Anne and her parents were lucky enough to receive a visa to Australia.

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Honouring the dead

Honouring the dead Author: Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian Jews follow religious laws and traditional rites of burying and honouring the dead. The deceased are thoroughly washed as an …

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Survivor Portraits – Vera Kertesz

Holocaust survivor Vera Kertesz was born in 1933 in Czechoslovakia. She was an only child and believed if her parents had had more children, the family would not have survived.

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A firefighter’s charms

A firefighter’s charms These small metal charms in the Sydney Jewish Museum’s collection were made in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. They belonged to Pavel Thorsch, a member of the Feuerwache (FW); …

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Juden Raus! Out with the Jews! – The Anschluss of Austria

Juden Raus! Out with the Jews! – The Anschluss of Austria By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian On 12 March 1938, Hitler’s army marched into Austria. The subsequent Anschluss …

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Reminders of humanity: Jacqueline Dale’s birthday cards

Reminders of humanity: Jacqueline Dale’s birthday cards Bordered by blue tape and creased by decades of history, the birthday cards given to Jacqueline Dale (nee Feldman) on the occasion of …

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Survivor Portraits – Leon Milch

Holocaust survivor Leon Milch was born in 1932 in Podhajce, Poland, a vibrant town of 6000 people, of which half were Jewish. He and his brother lost both of their parents in the Holocaust.

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The hidden ink sketches of Chaim Uryson

The hidden ink sketches on Chaim Uryson A collection of eight ink sketches recently piqued our curators’ attention once more. These sketches in our collection were done by Polish Jewish …

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Survivor Portraits – Peter Reismann

Holocaust survivor Peter Reismann was born in 1939 in Budapest, Hungary. At 4 years old, he remembers hurrying into a dark and small bunker.

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The perpetual markings of Auschwitz

The perpetual markings of Auschwitz By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and marks 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Only in Auschwitz …

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Survivor Portraits – Yvonne Engelman

Holocaust survivor Yvonne Engelman was born in 1927 in Dovhe, Czechoslovakia. After promising her father she’d survive, Yvonne survived Auschwitz.

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International Migrants Day: Waves of Jewish migration to Australia

International Migrants Day: Waves of Jewish migration to Australia The waves of Jewish migration to Australia before and after World War II have been turning points in the history of …

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Remembering Kristallnacht in Australia

Remembering Kristallnacht in Australia On this day 82 years ago, the Nazis unleashed Kristallnacht – or the Night of Broken Glass – a bloody pogrom in Germany, Austria and Sudetenland. …

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Oma’s Coffee Mug

A recent addition to our collection, this Villeroy & Boch mug that bears Nazi imagery on its base has an interesting history.

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Nuremberg: From the Imperial Castle to Race Laws

The history of the Nuremberg Race Laws By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet, Resident Historian at Sydney Jewish Museum Throughout history, Nuremberg has attracted much attention. Built in medieval times, the …

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Remembering the massacre at Babyn Yar

The murder of more than 33,000 Jews in Babyn Yar marked one of the largest single ‘open-air shootings’ in the history of the Holocaust, only to be surpassed by the massacre of 50,000 Jews at Odessa and the two-day killing of almost 43,000 Jews in the Lublin district. Today we commemorate the 79th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre.

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Yom Kippur from Home

Yom Kippur from Home Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is often spent in synagogue. Of course, this year for most will be different. While we know we can still …

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An Egyptian Rosh Hashana Seder

An Egyptian Rosh Hashana Seder The festival of Rosh Hashana is both a joyous celebration and the start of a period of ten days during which Jewish people engage in …

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“Love each other. Be tolerant. Help each other.”

“Love each other. Be tolerant. Help each other.” “What legacy can I leave my children, grandchildren and great-grands? Much love. Yes… Love each other. Be tolerant. Help each other.” – …

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Synagogues and memory

Synagogues and memory When synagogues were forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Jewish communities felt distressed; not necessarily at the knowledge that they couldn’t attend, but …

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Black lives didn’t matter: The Afro-German experience

Black lives didn’t matter: The Afro-German experience By Emeritus Professor Konrad Kwiet Afro-Germans – Germans of African descent – are among the forgotten victims of German racism and Nazi terror. …

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Telling the Holocaust through poems

Telling the Holocaust through poems There are hundreds of testimonies in the Sydney Jewish Museum’s collection from survivors who have shared their stories of suffering and survival. It is always …

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From Dunera to D-Day

On the anniversary of D-Day, we tell the story of Barney Barnett; a Jewish soldier who survived D-Day and fought against Nazi Germany until he was captured.

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A wedding in Theresienstadt

This is a story about the wedding of Otto Ehrmann and Elfi Felixova in Theresienstadt in 1943, before the young couple was to learn of their fates.

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The stories behind the pink triangle

On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia we reflect on the untold testimonies from the persecuted LGBTIQ community during the Holocaust.

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Newfound friendships in isolation

While many Holocaust survivors are feeling isolated right now, we have launched a Pen Pal Project to connect students and Holocaust survivors with one another through letter writing during these uncertain times.

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Perspectives on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen

Perspectives on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen When Bergen-Belsen was liberated on 15 April 1945, a horrific landscape of death and suffering was revealed. News reels, photographs and sketches showed indescribable …

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Righteous Among the Nations as mensches: Siek and Anna Attema

Siek and Anna Attema were Dutch farmers who selflessly hid Mia Polak and her sister for two years on their farm in Holland, during WWII.

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From Kristallnacht to King Street

From Kristallnacht to King Street On 9 November 1938, Nazi party members engaged in a program of bloody pogroms across Germany and Austria that became known as Kristallnacht (Night of …

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Learn the History – Who is a Jew?

Learn the History – Who is a Jew? In order to understand the complex answer to the question ‘Who is a Jew?’, one has to look at the many sources …

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The Photographer of ‘I Met a Survivor’ – Nadine Saacks

The Photographer of ‘I Met a Survivor’ – Nadine Saacks Nadine Saacks is a photographer with a passion for documenting people’s stories through images. To bring the concept for ‘I …

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Learn the History – Why did Jews not leave Germany when the Nazis came to power?

Learn the History – Why did Jews not leave Germany when the Nazis came to power? In this monthly blog series, Learn the History, our Resident Historian Emeritus Professor Konrad …

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Helping us get inspiring projects off the ground

Helping us get inspiring projects off the ground All projects start with a spark of inspiration. This is how the powerful collection of photographs that makes up I Met a …

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A tapestry of a decade’s stories

A tapestry of a decade’s stories This large tapestry of an idyllic medieval landscape recently came into our collection, bringing with it a complex and tumultuous story. Behind the colourful …

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