BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE RECEPTION 15 November 2015
The Hon Ted Baillieu and Mrs Baillieu
Lady Cowen AM
MAJGEN Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM OBE KStJ, Patron in Chief
Mr Jack Smorgon AO, Patron
Mr Ben Hirsh, Immediate Past President and Life Member
Mrs Ruby Grose, Life Member
Mr Simon Bloomer, President Carry On (Victoria)
Mr John Poland, President & Mr Peter Holz, VP TPI Ex-servicemen & Women Vic
Mr Bob Larkin, President Caulfield RSL
Mr Gary March, Chair Friends Elwood RSL
MAJ Mike Wells
Mr David Marlow, Executive Director, JCCV
Ms Jennifer Huppert, President, JCCV
Mrs Rysia Rozen OAM, President National Council of Jewish Women Australia
Ms Brenda Segal, JNF
Mrs Margaret Pagone, The King David School
Bereaved Families of WWI and WWII
Bereaved Families from the last 12 months
Ladies and Gentlemen
During Remembrance week each year, we join together in solemn, silent reflection as we remember the tragedies of WWI and WWII with the untimate sacrifice made by those who served there, and in other armed conflicts which our Nation has been engaged. This morning, we have paused and remembered with grateful thanks, and determined that our fallen will never be forgotten.
This year we have honoured their memories in a way not seen in our community since 1947 when the historic WWII Memorial was unveiled at the Melbourne General Cemetery, and before that in 1924 when the original WWI Memorial was unveiled by Sir John Monash. Our very own Jeffrey Rosenfeld has today followed in the steps of Monash by unveiling the twin of the historic Memorial in Carlton, for our Community.
New WWI & WWII Victorian Jewish Memorial Unveiled 15 November 2015
November 2011 was the last Remembrance Day Commemoration service held at the Melbourne General Cemetery at our Historic Memorial known as "The Obelisk." Our ageing veterans found it too far to travel.
After more than two years research by President Judy Landau, it was proven that 15 WWI names on the Historic Memorial were not Jewish or were not found as casualties. Therefore were not included on the new Memorial. Those on the Historic Memorial who, during the research period, were not found to have a connection with Victoria, were included on the new Memorial as there was a possibility that the connection was there but not found at the time. Twenty two newly discovered WWI names were added.
It was proven that one WWII name on the Historic Memorial was not Jewish. Therefore was not included on the new Memorial. Those on the Historic Memorial who, during the research period, were not found to have a connection with Victoria, were included on the new Memorial as there was a possibility that the connection was there but not found at the time. Sixteen newly discovered WWII names were added.
OFFICIAL WELCOME BY DR JUDY LANDAU, President VAJEX Australia
Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
This service is different from any that my generation has seen before. I won’t be acknowledging our honoured guests by name as would normally be done, because today’s event is to honour the names of the fallen Victorian-connected Jewish heros of WWI and WWII.
The acknowledgements that need mentioning right now are of the generous major sponsors who enabled this magnificent Memorial to be constructed.
THE PRATT FOUNDATION
ANZAC CENTENARY LOCAL GRANTS PROGRAM FROM MELBOURNE PORTS ELECTORATE
MARC BESEN AC & EVA BESEN AO
I offer to the sponsors, the grateful thanks of the community which includes the bereaved families of our fallen, whose names are etched onto the Monument.
Thank you to the CoPP and Heritage Victoria for offering the site for the Memorial and thanks to Advanced Stone for the fabulous job you have done in making and erecting the Monument.
Looking around, I see the faces of some family members of the men behind the names on the memorial. There is a son representing his father from Sydney whose brother was a WWII casualty; a son whose father is buried in New Guinea; a nephew whose uncle is buried in New Guinea; great nieces and nephews whose fallen are buried in far away places such as Gallipoli and France; we have two first cousins twice removed here, of an unrecovered war casualty on the verge of being identified, having been KIA at Fromelles and buried in a mass grave; 3rd St Kilda scouts are present to honour the memories of their ten former scouts who didn’t come home. Wesley College staff are here with a wreath containing many names from both World Wars and Melbourne Law School representatives have come to honour one of their fallen graduates.
These are but a few bereaved families and groups demonstrating that this Memorial is a vital link for many, and relevant to us even though it is so long ago when those memorialised were tragically killed. It also paints a picture of the devastation and grief that our small community suffered and still suffers and struggles, with the losses.
Unlike today, the bodies of our dead from both World Wars were not repatriated back home, so for the vast majority, there are no graves in Melbourne to visit for remembrance and mourning. Until now, all these families had was the historic Memorial at the Melbourne General Cemetery (which from my in depth research, uncovered that it was missing many names). Now this twin Memorial is updated and very much closer to where we live, and is a place where families and friends of our fallen can come to honour the memories of our own who did not come home.
The men behind the names. We will remember you!
Lest We Forget
As Vice President and Ceremonial Manager of VAJEX Australia, Julie Leder is a highly respected and well-liked board member. She is recognised and admired by the wider Jewish and Military Communities as well as other ex-service organisations with whom we have close ties. She is a great ambassador with a sunny smile.
She is a valued assistant to the President and Julie cheerfully rolls her sleeves up to do many behind the scenes tasks.
When she takes the microphone as MC for our commemorative services, we all know that the event will be handled with sensitivity and warmth. Participants are welcomed to the microphone with Julie encouragingly standing by. Each segment flows seamlessly to the next with Julie’s capable guidance.
Julie’s happy disposition is contagious and we look forward to many more years of Julie volunteering with VAJEX Australia.
"At the Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda, the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove, were guests of the Director and CEO, Ms Rebecca Forgasz, President, Barry Fradkin OAM and President VAJEX Australia, Dr Judy Landau, viewed the ‘True Jews and Patriots: Australian Jews and World War One exhibition."
The above statement appears on the Governor-General's website:
Judy Landau writes:
I had a chance to explain about my research for the new WWI & WWII Memorial and how DNA was sent only last week to hopefully identify one of our youngest casualties who was killed in action at the tender age of 16. It is thought that his remains have been found in a mass grave at Fromelles and his second cousin, who is a new VAJEX Australia member, supplied the DNA.
The WW1 names for the new Memorial are printed on one of the walls of the exhibition and after hearing the story of the young soldier, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret'd) took a pebble and placed it in memory of him. It was a very special moment. Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove placed a pebble in memory of one of the newly discovered soldiers. This is a memory I will always treasure.
As they were about to leave, Sir Peter asked if there were any Jewish nurses amongst the Australian nurses who went over to the battlefields. What a pity he didn't have time to hear my reply because there were five Jewish nurses with a Victorian connection who served in World War One. Some time ago I made a DVD on this topic with a pamphlet to accompany it and with Julie Leder, gave a talk to a women's group about women in the Armed Forces.
Photo: Peter Haskin
Due to his outstanding service, at this year's luncheon we paid homage to Ben Hirsh. Our 1st Vice President, Immediate Past President and Life Member tendered his intention to retire from the committee taking effect from the close of the Luncheon. With decades of service to VAJEX Australia, Ben gave his all and more, at times burning himself out and going beyond his limits for the sake of VAJEX. To say “thank you” is completely inadequate but there are not enough words to tell Ben of the esteem and respect he has earned from myself, VAJEX and the wider community. It was Ben who began the process of bringing VAJEX out of what he termed the “horse and cart era”. It was a brave step to take when some of the members were against embracing the new ways. At our last committee meeting, I tabled a vote of thanks to Ben for his devotion and dedication, the like of which is rarely seen.
Ben already had all the awards that VAJEX had to offer, so I had to create another one just for him. It is called the VAJEX Meritorious Award. The definition being: deserving reward & praise for a life time of meritorious service & conduct; exemplary & deserving; having worth of merit & value; being honourable & admirable; virtuous & commendable; a worthy fellow.
In Ben's response he said, "Thank you, Judy, for this beautiful award. When the returned Diggers of WWI formed the Jewish Returned Soldiers’ Circle in 1929 and were later joined by returning members of the armed forces who served in World War II, this Association peaked in membership. Sadly, with the passage of time, our ranks have been reduced; but we still meet to honour the fallen and those who pass away. After 85 years we are still here. I am confident that we will continue in this way for many years to come. It was a great privilege for me to do whatever I could during those 24 years. Thank you for this award, I feel very humbled.
We all wish Ben a well earned rest.
as these contact details will always be directed to a VAJEX representative.
VAJEX Australia was well represented at the Glen Eira Volunteer Awards for 2015.
Leading off with 20 years service was our Immediate Past President and Life Member Ben Hirsh.
For recognition of 10 years service was Ian Mansfield and Judy Landau.
Julie Leder was awarded for 500 hours of continuous service.
Five minutes ago, our Patron-in-Chief MAJGEN Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM OBE KStJ was awarded the prestigious ANZAC of the Year Award by MAJ GEN David McLaughlin AO Ret'd, State President of the RSL.
From the RSL Website:
In its desire to honour those who serve in peace as well as perpetuating the memory and gallantry of those who served in war, the Returned & Services League of Australia has established a series of National Honours - the ANZAC Awards.
The ANZAC Awards are, the ANZAC Peace Prize, only one of which is awarded to an Australian individual or group for outstanding efforts in promoting international understanding and peace, and the ANZAC of the Year Awards, seven of which may be awarded each year to Australian individuals or groups for service to the community in a positive, compassionate and selfless manner.
Photo courtesy Julie Leder
Submitted by Gary Ciddor
On Sunday 28 June 2015 a commemorative service “Birth of the Anzac Spirit” was held at St Kilda Synagogue. Those in attendance also saw the official launch of the Jewish Museum of Australia’s exhibition “True Jews and Patriots: Australian Jews and World War One”.
On entering the foyer of the St Kilda Synagogue the result of Dr Judy Landau’s enormous research effort was clearly visible – six large banners with photographs and biographical information about Jewish Victorian servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW1. Judy, VAJEX Australia’s President, had spent two years collecting and analysing the information and designing the banners.
Mazal Tov Ian and Alona on your wedding day
22 February 2015
From the ponderings of Judy Landau…
Did I hear correctly? Ian said he has been introduced to a lovely lady by her relatives. Interesting, because I didn’t think that he might ever take THE step as he is shy when it comes to such things. It sounds promising, let’s see what happens.
They met and got on very well. Time passed and they fell in love. It is such a lovely story with the families and friends all extremely happy.
Being everyone’s Jewish mother, I wanted to meet Alona and see for myself that Ian was truly happy. Within minutes of meeting Alona, it is obvious. She is a delightful and easy going person and a good match for Ian. The welcomed gift of flowers that I took were carefully placed in a vase and she appreciated them. Alona’s smile told the whole story.
With the date set and all the arrangements made, Steve and I headed off to the happy event and we watched as they committed their lives to each other.
Mazal tov to you both from us all in VAJEX Australia. It is so rare and nice to report on a simcha!
VAJEX Australia now boasts another new Non service member nominated by myself. Welcome Mrs Alona Mansfield!
As the CUO of the Scotch College Army Cadet Unit I was given the privilege of attending the commemorative service held to mark the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the passing of one of this nation’s finest, Sir John Monash.
On a cold, wet and windy Sunday morning a large group of people braved the Melbourne weather to honour the memory of General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD. Monash had been a former student of Scotch College, having attended the school in 1880, where he excelled as dux of the school. As students we are humbled by this connection; indeed the famous gates that mark entry to the school, along with one of the school’s twelve houses, are named in his honour.
As cadets we take pride in the fact that one of the greatest Australian soldiers came from our ranks. The accounts of Monash’s bravery, leadership, loyalty and tactical ability in the face of great adversity are still to this day acknowledged as being a clinical display of strategy, and have helped shape modern day warfare. Indeed hearing Major General McLachlen AO’s account of how Monash, at the end of the First World War, refused to leave Europe until all of the men under his command had been repatriated home to Australia, reinforced to me the outstanding and selfless character of Sir John Monash.
Not only was Sir John a great scholar and soldier, he also enjoyed a rich and successful career following the war. Many of his legacies in planning and architecture are proudly on display throughout Melbourne. We heard at the commemorative service how, during his time at the State Electricity Commission, Monash’s vision brought electricity to rural Victoria. It is no wonder, given his significant contributions to our nation, that major freeways and universities today carry his name.
As I finish my final years of secondary schooling and prepare for my Year 12 examinations, I take with me that much of Monash’s success was due to his meticulous planning of each day and his attention to detail, accepting nothing but giving his best.