Screening of “POLMISSION – Passports’ Secrets”

November 2, 2023

On Thursday, 2nd November 2023, in conjunction with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Australia, the Australian Society of Polish Jews & Their Descendants (ASPJ) was extremely pleased to host the screening of “Polmission – Passports’s Secrets” at the newly-renovated Melbourne Holocaust Museum.

The event took place in the presence of the new Polish Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Maciej Chmieliski, the Victorian Deputy Leader of the Opposition and MLA for Caulfield, Mr David Southwick, Consuls-General and Consuls representing thirteen countries, the Presidents of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Polish Community Council of Victoria, as well as other dignitaries and guests.

In welcoming those in attendance, particularly the Polish Ambassador, whom the ASPJ was honoured to host on his first and only engagement on his first trip to Melbourne, ASPJ President Ezra May stated that the underlying central message of the film was for people not to remain silent and to take action to assist others in need. He said that, unfortunately, this was no longer just an interesting or inspiring historical story, but was now more relevant than ever, considering the current threats faced by Israel and Jewish communities worldwide – including in Melbourne.

Ambassador Chmieliński then provided an overview of the the long intertwined history of Jews in Poland and highlighted some of the efforts undertaken by some Polish diplomats in order to save Jews during, the Holocaust.

On behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Ambassador then presented Mrs Rachel Kelman with the Cross of Siberian Exiles in recognition of the World War II experiences of her parents. Mrs Kelman responded by recounting a brief overview of her parents’ experience, as Polish Jews, of having been exiled to Siberia by the Russians,  before her father was conscripted into the Russian Army and was then killed in action during the liberation of Poland.

Following the screening of the film, the evening concluded with remarks from David Southwick MP, who emphasised the need to for other communities to stand up when Israel and the Victorian Jewish community was under threat.

To view the video of the event, click on the link below.