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Holocaust Remembrance Day

Museum commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day

"We have witnessed an alarming wave of antisemitism across the world, so this Remembrance Day we must come together ... to remember and affirm our human right," says Jayne Josem.

New displays in Melbourne Holocaust Museum. Photo: Simon Shiffs
New displays in Melbourne Holocaust Museum. Photo: Simon Shiffs

The newly opened Melbourne Holocaust Museum (MHM) invites audiences to the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 29.

Jayne Josem, MHM’s outgoing CEO, said, “Democracy and freedom are not guaranteed – every one of us has a responsibility to play a part in safeguarding these rights.

“We should not become complacent; recent events in the Middle East have pointed to the danger of complacency. We have witnessed an alarming wave of antisemitism across the world, so this Remembrance Day we must come together – Jews and non-Jews – to remember and affirm our human right in a civil society to be able to freely observe one’s beliefs and religion without fear of retribution.”

This year MHM will host a panel discussion exploring the importance of democracy. Moderated by Dr Breann Fallon, MHM head of Exhibitions and Programming, it will feature four guests – Nina Basset, Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Nyadol Nyuon and Dr Daniel Heller – who will draw on their personal and professional experiences to examine the fragility of freedom.

Nina Basset AM was born on April 8, 1939 in Lwow, Poland. Nina and her mother survived the Holocaust and came to Australia in 1949 as refugees after two years in a displaced person’s camp in Germany. They settled in Melbourne and Nina studied arts and law at the University of Melbourne.

Basset served as president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria where she provided support for the states LGBTQIA+ and the Jewish community. As the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Basset set up a National Restitution Hotline for survivors of the Holocaust to facilitate restitution claims.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert is an Australian political scientist specialising in Islam and the Middle East. She speaks several Middle Eastern languages and has spent significant periods travelling and conducting academic research in the region.

In 2018 she was wrongfully detained during a research trip to Iran and served more than two years of a 10-year jail sentence before being freed in November 2020 in a prisoner exchange deal. Moore-Gilbert is the author of the bestselling 2022 memoir The Uncaged Sky.

“As free people, we rarely notice how precious our freedom is until it is taken from us,” Moore-Gilbert said.

Nyadol Nyuon OAM was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, raised in several refugee camps and separated from her mother at a very young age before moving to Australia at the age of 18. Nyuon completed a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University and her Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne.

She is a vocal advocate for human rights, focusing on legal reform, social justice and multiculturalism. In 2020 she delivered a trailblazing address at the National Press Club calling for a revolutionary reimagining of multiculturalism in Australia and calling out prejudice.

Nyuon is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony and the 2019 Australian Financial Review Diversity and Inclusion Award. In 2019, the AFR named her one of Australia’s 11 most influential women.

Dr Daniel Heller is a senior East European Jewish History lecturer at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation. His areas of research specialisation are East European Jewish history, the history of humanitarian aid and international development, and the history of Zionism and modern Israel.

Melbourne Holocaust Museum’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration and panel discussion is on January 29 from 7.30 pm to 9.30pm. $10 admission Bookings: tinyurl.com/bde3eu6h

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