Last Friday Year 6 visited the Sydney Jewish Museum to complement Project Heritage and their Jewish Studies learning focus on pre-war Jewish Life in Europe and Nazi Germany in the 1930s. After a couple of years of not being able to go to the Museum, it was a privilege to be back and be joined by 20 Year 6 parents. Our visit involved an informative guided tour, moving survivor testimonies and workshops by museum educators. The students were complimented by the guides and educators on their knowledge, attentiveness, thoughtful questions and focus during the visit. Thank you to students, staff, parents and to the amazing Sydney Jewish Museum guides and educators for an informative and meaningful visit.
Two students, Ethan Winter and Kayla Strous, have some of their reflections from the visit:
Aviva Fox is a Holocaust survivor born in what is now Catanica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When the Nazis took over her town they started persecuting and rounding up Jews. Aviva, with her father and mother, ran into the nearby woods to escape and hide. They were taken in by the local partisans who looked after them but they had a deal with the German invaders. If they didn’t attack the town, the Nazis would not kill them. The Nazis discovered Aviva and her parents in hiding and shot her father. Aviva and her mother escaped and her mother put Aviva in the care of a wealthy Muslim family who protected Aviva and pretended that she was Muslim. Tragically, her mother was taken away to Auschwitz where she was murdered. Aviva was adopted and taken to South Africa, which at the time was under the Apartheid regime. Aviva, her adopted brother Egon and his wife Miriam Sonnenschein, eventually moved to Australia. Aviva is now retired and regularly speaks to students when they visit the Sydney Jewish Museum, sharing her incredible life story and message of courage, tolerance and respect. By Ethan Winter
After listening to Aviva tell her engaging life story we were split up into four groups for a tour of the Museum. My grandma (Leora Ross) was my tour guide. First, she took us to this incredible painting of George Street and we learnt about the Jewish convicts and first settlers who came to Australia. Next Leora took us upstairs to learn about the Shoah. We saw a map of Europe which showed the pre-war Jewish population and the total number of Jews who died from each country during the Holocaust. She told us the inspiring story of how the kind people of Denmark managed to get its Jews onto boats and sent them to safety in Sweden. It was such an interesting excursion which helped me learn and understand so much more about the Shoah.
By Kayla Strous