Handbook – The Holocaust and The Australian Aboriginal Response

by Barbara Miller.

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The author Barbara Miller would like to thank Eli Rabinowitz, founder of the WE ARE HERE! Foundation and Gabriele Maluga, the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Western Australia for initiating and sponsoring this handbook which can be used for upper secondary students and adult education in Australia and internationally.

We also acknowledge the support of Yad Vashem Photo Archives Jerusalem.

Table of Contents

Module 1       What was the Holocaust?. 3

Topic 1      Key Facts of the Holocaust 6

Topic 2      What was the Holocaust?. 7

Topic 3      Why did the Holocaust Occur?. 14

Module 2       World’s Reaction to Holocaust and Refugees 18

Topic 1      Evian and World Leaders 18

Topic 2      Australian Response to Apology. 25

Topic 3      Bermuda Conference. 30

Module 3       Key Events in the Holocaust 31

Topic 1      Persecution of Jews and Kristallnacht 32

Topic 2      World and Aboriginal Response. 36

Topic 3      Final Solution. 39

Module 4       How Did People Respond?. 43

Topic 1      Upstanders and Rescuers. 44

Topic 2      Bystanders 46

Topic 3      Collaborators 49

Topic 4      Jewish Resistance and Survivors. 52

Module 5       Australian Aboriginal Upstanders. 65

Topic 1      Influences on William Cooper 65

Topic 2      William Cooper and AAL Protest 73

Topic 3      Honouring William Cooper in Australia and Israel 78

Module 6       German Apology. 90

Topic 1      Re-enactment of Protest in Australia. 90

Topic 2      Uncle Boydie Goes to Germany. 100

Module 7       What Can We Do Today?. 105

Topic 1      What Forms Does Antisemitism Take Today?. 105

Topic 2      What Would William Cooper Do Today?. 107

Topic 3      How Can You Make It a Better World?. 109

Evaluation. 109

References 110

Appendix A – Apology Regarding Evian in Australia

Appendix B – Honouring William Cooper in Australia and Israel

Appendix C – German Apology

Module 1        What was the Holocaust?

Objective: Participants will be able to outline the key facts of the Holocaust and describe why it occurred.

The Holocaust was an extreme and horrific form of antisemitism with the genocide of European Jews. In this handbook, we’re going to be looking at what happened and why and the world’s response.  In particular, we look at the response of Aboriginal people in Australia, far away from the killing fields of Europe. How and why did they get involved when they were not even recognised as citizens of their own country and had many problems themselves? And what does it all mean for us today as citizens of the world? Is antisemitism ongoing and what can we do about it?

Why do we need to learn about it?

We often hear the phrase from Jewish people and others, “never again.” But although it was an unimaginable horror and challenged our views of what it means to be human, it could happen again. So, we need to understand how and why it happened. We need to comprehend why some people supported it with gusto, why some stood by and did nothing and why some resisted it. We need to recognise the warning signs to be able to put the brakes on something similar happening again, anywhere in the world, today and into the future.

While a number of other groups faced the Nazi killing machine, it is important to remember that Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) suffered a similar fate to the Jews with the attempt to wipe them out completely. August 2nd has been set aside yearly to commemorate their genocide.

Eli Rabinowitz

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