Students Spike, Jakov and Nikhil reflected on their recent excursion to the Sydney Jewish Museum. Here is their account:
To learn more about WWII and the Holocaust, we visited the Sydney Jewish Museum. With a guide we explored the many exhibits and stories of the building.
We learned about the horrors of the Holocaust and life the ghettos and camps, as well as learning about Jewish culture and traditions and some of the practices they perform in a Synagogue.
The tour started in the foyer designed with a giant hole in the centre of the room shaped like the Star of David.
We saw many artifacts including a Jewish hat known as a yarmulke traditionally worn by men during ceremonies as well as an ancient parchment the Jewish people use to read their prayers off of with an ornate handle.
As we explored the museum we saw many war time posters of propaganda the Nazis used to incriminate the Jewish people. We even saw a blanket clung on to by a young child given to him by his father before he was never seen again. Hearing the stories really brought the artifacts to life.
After touring the museum we had the privilege of hearing from a Holocaust survivor. Judy told us her incredible life story. As a child she never knew she was adopted. Her mother had left her in a hospital so she had a chance of surviving the Nazis.
A man and wife who were friends of a nurse at the hospital took Judy in as a baby and brought her up as their own. Judy always suspected that her parents were keeping a secret from her.
Judy shared her story of her family’s escape from the communist state of Hungary and her memories of running through corn fields dodging the searchlights. After a six-week boat trip they started a new life in Australia.
Slowly Judy uncovered the truth and her family helped her hire researchers to track down her family. She found out the heartbreaking news that her biological mother and brother had been murdered in Auschwitz. Her father, who never knew of her existence, had moved to Israel.
Judy is very excited to be travelling to Israel with her husband next month to meet her family for the first time. Judy’s story was amazing to hear. Her final message to us was that the truth is always important.