Australian Jewish Historical Society Victoria Inc
Meeting Reports
and Podcast List

Abstracts for meetings of AJHS (Vic) are listed with some additional resources at
Abstracts and podcast details for The History of Now series on Contemporary Jewish History are at
The Home page of the Australian Jewish Historical Society is at
Enquiries, comments, and web issues: Email   webmasterATajhsDOTinfo

About the Speaker and Podcast

The Dunera Boys
Questions and Comments
Prof Ken Inglis
The Dunera Boys In History and Memory
In the more than 70 years since their transportation to Australia as enemy aliens, the experience of the Dunera internees has been the subject of much recollection and research. Books have been written about them. The most widely known account of their odyssey is a telemovie first shown in 1985 and still in circulation on DVD, which mixes fact and fiction, history and legend, in proportions not easily distinguished. The legend is itself part of the story, cherished and sometimes contested by survivors. In this talk, Prof Inglis explores the relationship between history and memory in the making of the Dunera story.
The fascinating account was presented to a meeting of the Australian Jewish Historical Society (Victoria) on October 4, 2012. The large audience included a number of living Dunera boys and their descendants. The lecture itself can be heard by clicking the top player to the right.
Comments and questions from the audience, with Prof. Inglis's responses may be accessed using the lower player to the left.
Cover of Egyptian-Jewish Emigrés in Australia

Dr Racheline
Egyptian-Jewish Emigrés in Australia
Podcast of a meeting of the Australian Jewish Historical society (Victoria) AJHS (Vic) held on May 17, 2012.
Dr Racheline lectures at the Jewish Studies Department of Sydney University on the history of the Jews of Egypt from biblical times to the modern period, focusing on the medieval period and the Cairo Genizah. She also specialises in Holocaust studies and has been a volunteer guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum for the past fifteen years, which she considers a labour of love. In the course of her research, she has interviewed a large number of Jews from Egypt now living in Australia – mainly Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide - France, Great Britain, and the United States. They all shared with her the untold story of their “second exodus” and she felt it was a sacred duty to give them a voice and relate that story. She is extremely happy to have been able to do so through her book, based on her PhD thesis, and entitled Egyptian-Jewish Emigrés in Australia.

$8 members    $10 non-members
All relatives and friends warmly welcomed

To hear the podcast of this meeting click the player to the left.
Arnold Zable reminisces to the AJHS (Vic) about Cosmopolitan Carlton

Drawing on his numerous stories, essays, and research projects on Carlton, his own childhood, and his Carlton-based novel Scraps of Heaven, Arnold Zable discusses the evolution of immigrant communities Carlton in the post-war era. While the talk has a major focus on Yiddish Carlton, including the grand era of Yiddish theatre at the Kadimah, the emphasis is on the cultural borders that were crossed, making this a vibrant multicultural suburb long before the term was in vogue.

The talk is available for instant hearing here:

Arnold Zable is one of Australia’s best-loved storytellers and an acclaimed writer, novelist and human rights advocate. His books include Jewels and Ashes, The Fig Tree, Wanderers and Dreamers, and three novels, Café Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven and Sea of Many Returns. His new book, Violin Lesson, was published in August 2011. Arnold is the author of numerous stories, columns, features, essays, and works for theatre, including co-authorship of the play Kan Yama Kan in which asylum seekers tell their stories. He is president of the Melbourne Centre of PEN International, and has a doctorate in creative arts at Melbourne University, where he has been recently appointed a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow.
Julie Meadows     100 Stories   Presented at AJHS meeting of 22 October, 2011
Julie Meadows has created and coordinated the ‘Write Your Story’ project for Makor Jewish Community for over the past ten years. She collected and had published in book form the memoirs of 100 elderly community members including 70 Holocaust survivors.
The talk is available for instant hearing here:

The entire podcast is available to download Download symbol Click here
The talk includes readings from three of the holocaust survivor stories. Further details on the Write Your Story Program is on its website.
Julie Meadows speaking holding up book 

The Shoes of a Foundling
In an email Julie Meadows wrote: "I'd say that 70 of the books have been Holocaust related, although that covers a number of categories ... living with false identity papers, hidden by gentiles, kindertransport to England, becoming a partisan, escaping to Russia or Shanghai, and of course, surviving the ghettoes and the concentration camps. These Holocaust -related ones tell much more than the horrors suffered. I made sure that the pre-war life of Jewish families in Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna, etc. received a detailed description, since all [Jewish existence] was destroyed and remains only in the memory of people like these writers. I was especially happy to have compiled, over three years and translated from the Russian, two anthologies of [life] stories by Jews from the former Soviet Union which start with the Pale of Settlement and end with the downfall of the communist state."
Here are some features of the three books from which extracts were read (and are included in this recording)
  • In Escape to Les Vignes Anita Sharp writes of her life in pre-war Paris, her dangerous escape from German controlled France to Vichy France, her imprisonment in the last months of WW2 and ultimately of her survival.
  • In A Life Reclaimed Luba Olenski recounts how as a 12-year old girl, without parents, she jumped from a train en route to Treblinka. She then wandered around the Polish countryside, always in great danger, until finally found by a band of Jewish partisans.
  • Myer Harari was born in Egypt, but came from a well-known family of Syrian Jews. He did service with the British Army in the Western desert, and came to Melbourne with his wife, Loulou and six-month old son, Edwin, in 1948. His book, Second Exodus is a joyous and very funny account of his life.
The Jew who helped Mary McKillop
the first Australian Saint
Remastered pix of Emanuel Solomon and Mary MCKillop
Emanuel Solomon and Mary McKillop
Ref: Trevor S. Cohen, Emanuel Solomon and Mary McKillop, Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, Vol 18 (2006), Part 2, pp 160-171.
In this video historian Trevor Cohen, who is the great great great nephew of Emanuel Solomon, explains how Solomon twice came to the aid of Sister Mary McKilliop, when she was in dire difficulty. Solomon, who had come to Australia as a convict, had succeded against the odds to become a successful businessman and parliamentarian in Adelaide. Aged almost 70 years, he came to be a friend of Sister Mary McKillop, then aged under thirty, despite their manifold differences. But they had similarities in overcoming extreme difficulties through great strength of character. Emanuel Solomon came to the aid of Sister Mary Mckillop through providing free accommodation for her and members of her order. This video comprises an interview conducted by Peter Jane Madam of SBS with Trevor Cohen.

PODCAST currently not available
Video. Duration 5:53 min

Trevor Cohen: In order to understand Emanuel [Solomon] and the development of the kindred spirit that he shared with Mary [McKillop], who was born some 40 years after he was, we need to look at the extraordinary suffering he endured as a convict. We do know that that Mary reflected on her own childhood as one of sorrow, and her home life was most unhappy. And then for a while, after all her efforts, she was an outcast in her own church.

The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Committee to Combat Fascism and Antisemitism 1942-1970
Philip Mendes

Associate Professor Philip Mendes teaches Social Policy and Community Development at Monash University, and has been writing about the history of the Jewish Council since 1987. Philip is the author or co-author of seven books including The New Left, the Jews and the Vietnam War 1965-72 (1993) and Jews and Australian Politics (2004). His publications have appeared in a range of journals, including the Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Historical Studies, the Journal of Australian Studies, Labour History, and our own Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal.
Presented on Thursday 7 October 2010
In this talk well known political scientist Philip Mendes outlined the history of the Jewish Committee to Combat Fascism and Anti Semitism (JCCFAS) from 1942, explains why the Council rose to a position of influence in the Melbourne Jewish Community, and equally how the Council disintegrated in 1952-53. His long-term study of this organization has been recently enriched by the release of various ASIO reports of that period. This fascinating history of the Council is placed within the context of broader reflections on the dilemmas facing Jewish Left groups, historically and today. In discussions with audience members Prof Mendes drew attention to the close similarity of the extreme lefties of the JCCFAS and contemporary Jewish Left winger groupers who have forged active links with Palestinian groups. In the earlier period these left-wingers were isolated from the mainstream community because of their refusal to acknowledge the existence of state sponsored antisemitism under both Stalin and Kruschev; while certain contemporary Jewish Lefties refuse to admit the goals advocated by Palestinian Groups, including both destruction of the Jewish state and removal of Jews from there and anywhere else.
HAC 7/10/2010
Audio only. Duration 1 hour 23 min
Recording commenced approximately 3 minures after the speaker commenced.
At the meeting, there was a very sizeable group of people once affiliated with the Melbourne JCCFAS, leading to a most spirited discussion that is included in the podcast. The podcast includes this discussion and questions from the audience, , concluding with the vote of thanks moved by Rabbi Dr John Levi.

The text of this podcast is available online, click here. to open in a new window.
To download as the entire talk plus discussion as a podcast, Download symbol Click here
Included in this recording are comments from significant participants in the events discussed.
Enquiries, comments, and web issues: Email webmasterATajhsDOTinfo