On Wednesday 7 April, the Jewish community of Sydney gathered in person and online, to commemorate the victims and pay respect to the survivors of the Holocaust. Kangarusski, the Russian-speaking department of the Zionist Federation of Australia was a proud partner of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in organising this event.
This year, the ceremony marked the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, and the main theme was the experience of Soviet Jews during the Second World War.
The shocking statistic of over 1,500,000 murdered civilians, unspeakable facts and the testimonies of the witnesses painted a picture of the horrors that took place in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and the countries of the Former Soviet Union.
Close to 100 Russian-speaking guests joined the event in person, with many more joining online. Among the guests were families of Holocaust survivors from the Soviet Union. Their stories were brought to life by Simone Staikov –the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, who after the war found the strength to live and love.
The survivors, who came with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, lit candles in memory of their loved ones who perished during the Holocaust, but – poignantly – also in the name of their members who stood there strong and proud, representing four generations of Jewish continuity.
Sean Torban, the founder and director of the Talking Holocaust project – a Limmud FSU Labs international program – and also a 4th generation survivor, spoke about the importance of conversation with the older generation and the significance of sharing family stories for the future generations.
The powerful and heartbreaking Kaddish prayer, a “soul crying” musical piece, was played by talented Russian Jewish musicians and Hatikva, performed by young singers from Russian-speaking families completed this emotional and meaningful ceremony.