NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet addressed the audience gathered at NSW Parliament House for Holocaust survivor Eddy Boas’ educational talk, “From Bergen-Belsen to Sydney”, last week.
Boas is dedicated to Holocaust education and among the audience at the sold-out event were students from Moriah College and Masada College, as well as NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president David Ossip and CEO Darren Bark.
In his opening address, Perrottet said education was the key to combating the rise of antisemitism across NSW. He also spoke about the important work the Jewish community is doing to address this scourge and paid tribute to Boas and his incredible story of survival.
“We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust,” Perrottet said after the event.
“In my own life, education has been so important, with the benefit of friendships and hearing people’s stories firsthand, I have had the opportunity to grow and deepen my understanding of the history and pain caused.
“Eddy Boas is one of the precious remaining survivors and is passionate about educating people on the horrors of the Holocaust and it was an honour to spend some more time with him. He is a true inspiration and I thank him for inviting me along tonight.”
Sky News reporter Caroline Marcus hosted the event, as Boas told of his family’s survival through the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, before they found themselves stuck on a hellish train ride for 14 days as the British advanced in 1945.
The Boas family of four – Eddy, his mother, father and older brother – were eventually liberated by the Russian army and were put up in an empty school near the German village of Troebitz. From there they returned briefly to their home country of Holland, before migrating to Australia in 1954.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Jillian Segal thanked Boas for his devotion to Holocaust education in Australia.
“Eddy, you are a testament to the human spirit and I think you have mine and everyone here’s abiding admiration, gratitude and respect,” Segal said.
“We need to teach teachers further and better and we need to ensure there are experiential visits that continue to places like the Sydney Jewish Museum, but that’s not enough.
“Education must be reinforced by engagement; engagement between Jewish and non-Jewish students, so that they can see Jews in the flesh.”