2017 “Henryk Sławik Award” Presentation

August 16, 2017

Melbourne, Australia

The Henryk Sławik Award is presented in honour of the spirit of the life and deeds of Henryk Sławik, (saving over thirty thousand lives in occupied Hungary, five thousand of those being Jews). The Board of Management of the ASPJ has decided to honour individuals who, or organisations which, have worked towards enhancing mutual respect and understanding between the Polish and Jewish communities.

The recipients of the 2017 Henryk Sławik Award are:
Sue Hampel OAM and Frances Prince.

Among her many activities, Sue Hampel OAM is Co-President of Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre and an educator.Frances Prince is a long-time educator and is a member of the Executive of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, chairing its Multicultural & Interfaith Affairs Committee.

Sue Hampel OAM
Frances Prince

Both Sue and Frances have shown great commitment, working hard to establish the “Student March of the Living Australia” and, in particular, in preparing Australia’s Jewish students for their trip to Poland.

In the beginning, there was little goodwill, and sometimes much opposition, to taking Jewish children to the place where so many of our people perished. Sue and Frances managed to convince our community of the importance of the March of the Living. They wanted to ensure that the students were not left with an attitude of hatred towards Poland and its people, that they know the facts – that the genocide of the Jews in Poland, was planned by the German occupiers, that there were no “Polish death camps”, but “German death camps” on occupied Polish land.

They ensured that students were aware of the positive side of Polish-Jewish relations in Poland post the communist era, and that Jewish students met with Polish young people in order to establish a better understanding and better relations between them.

Sue Hampel befriended the late Irena Sandler and ensured that students were aware of the courageous Righteous Gentiles who saved many Jewish lives at risk of their own and that of their families. Both Sue and Frances insisted that the March Of The Living should be a journey of discovery and respect for the memory of the murdered families, as well as an opportunity for a deeper and more accurate understanding of history.

From left: Izy Marmur (Pres. ASPJ), Natalie Suleyman MP, Sue Hampel OAM, Frances Prince, Marian Pawlik OAM (Pres. PCCV)

This year’s Awards were presented to Sue and Frances by Victorian State MP Natalie Suleyman and President of the Polish Community Council (PCCV) of Victoria Marian Pawlik OAM.

Guest speaker was Natalie Suleyman MP, representing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Robin Scott MP. The topic of her keynote address was “Multiculturalism and Interfaith Dialogue in Victoria”. Natalie is a member of the Victorian Parliamentary Friendship Group of Poland. Its establishment was instigated by the PCCV and the ASPJ. She was instrumental in the establishment of this group and is its co-convenor, together with Nick Wakeling MP.

The audience was treated to a short video on “Jewish Life in Today’s Poland” followed by Klezmer music from David Krycer and Lionel Mrocki, two members of the Melbourne’s well-known klezmer band “Klazmania”

The 2017 Award was presented in the presence of members of the diplomatic corps, a number parliamentarians, as well as many leaders of Victoria’s Jewish and Polish communities including Piotr Buszta, (Deputy Head of Mission Counsellor Embassy of the Republic of Poland), Dr.George Łuk-Kozika (Honorary Polish Consul-General in Melbourne) and his wife Denise, Marsha Thompson MP (State Member for Footscray), Margaret Fitzherbert MLC (Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Women’s Health and Rural and Regional Health), Jennifer Huppert (President Jewish Community Council of Victoria), Nina Bassett AM (Imm.Past Pres., Jewish Community Council of Victoria), Christopher Lancucki AM (Imm.Past Pres., Polish Community Council of Victoria), Andrzej Korab (President, Albion Polish Club), and Adam Warzel (President, Australian Institute of Polish Affairs).