Wednesday 2 May
Throughout 1938 and 1939 acting chief minister of the Great Synagogue, Sydney, Rabbi Leib Aisack Falk, received many letters from European Jews who desperately sought to escape from Europe. In this lunchtime lecture, Annie Thompson will analyse these letters, which reveal the writers’ struggles to emigrate, in some cases with success, but in most cases with tragic endings. Falk’s correspondence highlights the complex dynamics between individuals, Jewish communal powers and the Australian government, and demonstrates the challenges imposed by the restrictive nature of Australian policies that governed refugee migration.
Annie Thompson completed a Bachelor of Arts with honours at the University of Sydney in 2016, majoring in Jewish Civilization Thought and Culture. Her honours thesis focused on the correspondence of Rabbi Leib Aisack Falk during the years 1938–1939. She is currently studying a Masters of Secondary Teaching at the University of New England and is a volunteer guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum.