$6m for holocaust centre

Simon Millman (Mount Lawley MLA), Ben Wyatt (WA Treasurer), Justine Sharbanee (president, Maccabi WA), John Schaffer (Maccabi Redevelopment Committee)

A NEW Holocaust education centre is on the way for Yokine, with $6 million of WA government funding announced as part of the arts and culture recovery package.

It matches $6m of federal money announced last year and the local Jewish community is aiming to raise $3m of its own for the redevelopment of the existing 70-year-old Jewish Community Centre at Woodrow Avenue. 

Mt Lawley Labor MP Simon Millman had been urging his government to fund the centre upgrade and welcomed the August 6 announcement.

He travelled to Israel last year, and says in the leadup “the local community urged me to visit Yad Vashem,” the world Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem.

“Having paid my respects there, I returned determined to convince the McGowan Government to fund a Holocaust Education Centre for WA.”

Bigotry

He says the centre’s important because “learning about the Shoah,” the Hebrew term for the Holocaust meaning catastrophe, “reminds us all of the threat of authoritarianism, the risk of dehumanisation, and the terrible consequences that can flow when we give bigotry a free pass.”

Planned to be a “world-class” Holocaust education centre, it will have an an Australian streak, housing a permanent memorial to Aboriginal human rights activist William Cooper.

Cooper was a Moira man born in Victoria and campaigned for Aboriginal rights as far back as 1887. In 1938, after hearing of the Kristallnacht attacks in Germany, he led a delegation of the Australian Aboriginal League to the German consulate in Melbourne protesting the “cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government”.

“We are a poor people, and few in numbers, but in extending our sympathy to the Jewish race we also pledge ourselves to help them by all means in our power,” his League’s resolution read.

By DAVID BELL

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