ASPJ Life Members

ASPJ Life Members

BERNARD KORBMAN, OAM

Life Membership awarded December 2021

Since its foundation back in 2009, Bernard Korbman OAM has been the philosophical and spiritual driving force behind the Australian Society of Polish Jews & Their Descendants. It was his ideal and motivation that inspired the rebirth of a Polish-Jewish organisation after what had been a hiatus of more than twenty-five years.

For the past eleven years, Bernard has served the ASPJ as its Founding President, President, Co-President, Vice-President and Board member. However, he has felt that now was the right time for him to step down and allow others to take the reins.


IZYDOR MARMUR, OAM

Life Membership awarded December 2021

Izydor Marmur OAM is one of the foundation members of the Australian Society of Polish Jews and Their Descendants. Since its foundation in 2009, Izy has served our organisation in many capacities, including as President, Vice-President and, until today, as Editor of the ASPJ’s publication “Haynt”.

He was a co-Instigator of the Friends of Poland Victorian Parliamentary Group. In 2014, he was presented with a Volunteer Award by Jewish Community Council of Victoria. Izydor, along with others, has been a driving force in bringing Victoria’s Polish and Jewish communities closer together.



From Our Webmaster

From Our Webmaster

Andrew Rajcher - Melbourne, Australia

Welcome to the new and upgraded website of the Australian Society of Polish Jews and Their Descendants!

Our original website went online in 2009, following the emergence of the ASPJ from the dormant remains of the Worldwide Fedaration of Polish Jews. Since then, the website underwent a minor facelift but, with the advent of more advanced website, multi-platform and multimedia technology, it was really time to take advantage of these advancements and to develop an entirely new website.

In putting this new website online, I’d like to draw a few of its new features to your attention:

  • The top left-hand corner now features the ability to instantly translate everything from English into either Polish or Hebrew.
  • The top right-hand corner now features the ability to search the entire website for specific text (the magnifying-glass symbol). Next to that are two other symbols – the envelope symbol which will allow you to email me directly and the house symbol which will return you to the website’s home page.
  • Notifications of new material on this website will be automatically posted onto our Facebook group with a link back to the relevant part of the website itself.
  • When future major events occur, you will be able to register for them directly through this website.

Finally, I’d like to thank our website programmer Viv Rotstein for her work in setting up the structure of our new website and for her patience, both now and ongoing, in teaching me how to use it all.

I hope that everyone likes our new web home. As always, I welcome comments and suggestions which can be emailed to me by using the envelope symbol in the top right-hand corner of any page on the website.

Enjoy!


The ASPJ Logo

The ASPJ Logo

The Symbolism

The ASPJ’s logo, as is the case with most logos, is symbolic.

The Magen David (Star of David) speaks for itself – that,
as members of this organisation, we are first and foremost Jews.

The white background with the red symbolises Poland,
where our roots lie, while the white combined with the
red and blue represents our home, Australia.

The grey symbolises the Holocaust and the horrific events that
affected all Survivors from Poland, and their descendants,
and which will forever be part of who we are today.


ASPJ Membership

ASPJ Membership

FULL MEMBERSHIP

If you are Jewish and aged 16 years or over, click HERE to download Application Form

ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP

If you are not Jewish or you are aged under 16 years, click HERE to download Application Form

Even though the name of our Society is indicative of
our general identity, our membership policy is intended
to be as inclusive as possible.


Naturally, we encourage all Jews, whose roots lie in Poland,
to become a Member and join in our activities.

However, even if you are not Jewish but are interested in
Polish-Jewish relations, history and/or dialogue,
we also encourage you to join us and invite you to apply for
Associate Membership.

Even though Membership is open to Jews aged sixteen years and over,
we also encourage young members under the age of sixteen,
who are interested in their heritage and history, to become an
Associate Member.


ASPJ Board Members

ASPJ Board Members

LENA FISZMAN

Co-Secretary

Lena is a child of Holocaust Survivors from Radom and Kraków. For many years, she worked for the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne. She is also a professional actress.

Lena has visited Poland three times and is deeply committed to preserving and fostering her Polish-Jewish heritage and promoting Polish/Jewish dialogue.


EVA HUSSAIN

Board Member (Melbourne-based)

Eva Hussain was born in Poland and immigrated to Australia in 1985. She is an accredited NAATI translator and interpreter and the Director of Polaron, a translation and European citizenship consultancy.

Eva’s former voluntary roles include Deputy President of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators AUSIT, President of the Polish-Australian Chamber of Commerce and board member of Polish Community Services of Victoria.



EZRA MAY

President

Ezra, born in Australia , is the son and grandson of Polish Jews from Kraków, Poland.

He has a strong interest in learning about and preserving the memory of the dynamic, rich and vibrant pre-War Jewish communities of Poland. He is also committed to exploring and engaging in contemporary Polish/Jewish dialogue.


KAREN PAKULA

Board Member (Sydney-based)

Karen is the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Chorzew and Vienna. A former journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald, she is writing about her family’s history through a second-generation lens.

Her work explores the re-emergence of Polish Jewry and the ongoing Polish-Jewish dialogue. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters.


DAVID PRINCE

Board Member (Melbourne-based)

David was born and lived in Łódż, and the Litzmannstadt Ghetto. He was deported on the last train to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then to a working camp (a sub-camp of Gross-Rosen) in Germany. He was liberated on 9th May 1945 by the Soviet Army.

Educated in Munich and Melbourne, David now works as a volunteer guide at the Jewish Holocaust Centre and considers it his duty to remember his origins and improve relations with Christian Poles by remembering the atrocities committed on Polish soil.


ANDREW RAJCHER

Treasurer and Webmaster

Andrew is the son of Holocaust Survivors from Częstochowa and Sosnowiec. As a former professional consultant to non-profit and charitable organisations, he has been actively involved in the Jewish community for many years, both professionally and as a volunteer.

As a regular visitor to Poland, Andrew has worked as a longtime volunteer with numerous Jewish organisations in Poland. As a Polish-to-English translator, Andrew is the longest serving volunteer at Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Andrew is a member of the Executive of the World Society of Częstochowa Jews and Their Descendants. He is a dual Australian/Polish citizen, speaks fluent Polish and is actively involved in Polish/Jewish dialogue.


ESTELLE ROZINSKI

Vice-President (Sydney-based)

Estelle was born in Melbourne and is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her entire professional life has been in education and she is most proud of her work mentoring Aboriginal youth at risk and students.

More recently, through her Tikkun Olam series, she has worked as a curator, bringing together artists of Aboriginal, Jewish, Hindu and Korean descent looking for common ground and shared experiences.

The Mezzuzah Project is her most recent passion, celebrating the diverse and vibrant Jewish communities of Poland from before 1939. The “Missing Mezzuzot of Zduńska Wola” is the first exhibition in this series – it is now on permanent display in the museum there.


PETER SCHNALL

Co-Secretary

Peter is the son of Holocaust survivors from Kraków and Łódż. He is President of the President of the Kraków Memorial Committee in Melbourne, which was created by Survivors and is now run by their descendants to honour and remember loved ones who perished in the Holocaust from Kraków.

Peter is strongly committed to preserving the memory of the large and vibrant pre-war Jewish Community of Poland. This task involves actively seeking ways to support education about the Holocaust to honour the memory of the Jewish community of Poland.

Interested in commemorations, Peter is very pleased to receive suggestions and ideas from Survivors, their children and friends. He is also actively seeking vital perspectives for the third generation so as to ensure that their heritage will be remembered for future generations to come.


LUCY TAKSA

Board Member (Sydney-based)

Lucy was born in Poland and came to Australia as an infant. Her family originated in Poland and the Ukraine and survived the Holocaust in the far eastern regions of the USSR. Lucy is a professor, who undertakes research into various dimensions of migrant employment and well-being.

Lucy has been an academic at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie Universities. She was previously a non-judicial member of the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal Equity Division, Chair of the Board of the NSW State Records and Archives and a non-executive board member of Settlement Services International Ltd.

 



From the ASPJ President, Ezra May

From the ASPJ President

Dear Members and Friends,

Dzień dobry and welcome to our first edition of “Haynt” for 2023.

Although we are now over a quarter of the way through 2023, in many ways, it feels as if we are just getting over the busy end which the ASPJ had to 2022.

Just to recap some of the highlights:

  • July 2022 – in a packed Beth Weizmann auditorium in Melbourne, the ASPJ hosted the acclaimed creative project curated by our Vice-President Estelle Rozinski, “… and he taught
    the canaries to sing”, featuring animations and stories celebrating vignettes of pre-war Jewish life in Poland. This project was also shown in Sydney in October 2022.
  • September 2022 – for the first time, both in Melbourne and in Sydney, the ASPJ hosted its 2022 ASPJ Oration, featuring Dariusz Popiela, founder of “People, not Numbers” and the Australian premiere of the film “Edge of Light”. The ASPJ Orations were an outstanding success and Darek’s charming personality coupled with his humility, inspired all those who heard about his work in restoring forgotten cemeteries and identifying and memorialising forgotten victims.
  • November 2022  – on a different note, the ASPJ partnered with the Polish Community Council of Victoria (PCCV) in hosting our inaugural The Circle Social Club function.The Circle Social Club was a dream project of previous ASPJ and PCCV Presidents Bernard Korbman, Izi Marmur and the late Marian Pawlik, to host social functions to enhance friendships between members and friends of our two organisations. An entertaining and enjoyable night of Jazz music was our first event and we look forward to more such functions and joint initiatives with the PCCV this year and into the future.
  • 19th March 2023 – the ASPJ hosted a booth at the In One Voice Festival in Melbourne, where we were busy all day with many attendees passing by and stopping for a chat, often sharing their Polish ancestry, as well as views on issues related to Polish–Jewish matters of interest.
  • 26th March 2023 in Sydney and 2nd April 2023 in Melbourne, the ASPJ hosted visiting historian and genealogist Michał Majewski as guest speaker at an ASPJ Genealogy Open Day. Both events were well attended and provided attendees with an excellent overview, as well as practical tips, on where and how to best search and navigate the available resources.

The ASPJ’s Statement of Purpose is to preserve and promote the historical and cultural heritage of Jewish life in Poland and to foster understanding between current and future generations of the Polish and Jewish
communities.

As we look around at the world in 2023, it seems that our purpose is more necessary than ever. There is the concerning and heart-breaking rise in antisemitism, both locally and internationally, as well as general overt
fascist and nationalist politics that seeks to not only divide communities, but threaten and actually harm in acts of violence. As well, the war in Ukraine continues to rage with its mounting military and civilian toll and
continuing refugee crisis.

As we have just celebrated the Festival of Pesach – Passover, one can only hope that globally and individually we all experience its central theme of “Liberation & Freedom”. We now also stand on the precipice of periods of reflection and gratitude in the calendar. We nowhave Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day – and the following week Yom HaZikaron – Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, immediately followed by Yom HaAtzmaut – Israel Independence Day.

In Australia, we also commemorate ANZAC Day.

All of these days should cause us to pause and reflect not only on the tremendous debt which we owe for the sacrifice of so many of the generations before us to ensure that people, all peoples, can live today in peace, friendship and tolerance with each other, but also on the terrible suffering and devastation that can result when we don’t.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our upcoming eventss.

Ezra May,
President, ASPJ.