Page 3097 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 23 August 2005

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From the time Hitler came to power in January 1933 until the end of World War II in 1945, Jewish people were imprisoned, persecuted and killed. By the end of the war, an estimated six million Jews had perished, including 1.5 million children. Not only Jews found themselves as victims of Nazism at this time. Anyone who opposed the regime could find himself or herself imprisoned or persecuted. The Nazis took action to suppress various racial and social groups and to remove them from society. Gypsies, the disabled and the mentally ill were all perceived as undesirable for German society and during the late 1930s many of them were murdered.

The lessons of these events are as relevant for today as they were over 60 years ago. As an educational program Courage to care, exposes students to the personal experiences of Holocaust survivors and the remarkable stories of their rescue and promotes learning and understanding through inquiry, discourse and critical reflection of personal values. It does not seek to impose values on students but, rather, encourages them to question issues of racism, intolerance, and discrimination. At a time when more and more people in our community turn a blind eye to injustices, this program and exhibition teaches visitors to learn from history, develop empathy, take personal responsibility and appreciate diversity in democracy.

The response from many of those who have experienced the program has been very positive. Students particularly have commented on the part of the program where they met a survivor of the Holocaust. Students have said that meeting with a Holocaust survivor and hearing at first hand how they survived, sometimes with the help of complete strangers, has reaffirmed their faith in human good and taught them that a little bit of caring can go a long away.

I am sure most members would be aware of my Jewish ancestry and the fact that I am Jewish. My grandparents and my mother fled Nazi Germany and, were it not for the goodwill of, firstly, a Catholic hospital in assisting my grandmother to give birth and then other friends who were not Jews in protecting them, they would not be here today. I end with a comment by Pastor Dietrich Niemoller:

In Germany they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

MR SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

Disaster planning

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.04): Today in the question time we heard the Chief Minister answering the question we asked about terrorist threat evacuation planning. I pointed out that I thought the Chief Minister had misled the community on the facts behind what had actually been completed in terms of emergency management evacuation planning.

I want to remind the house what the Chief Minister said in response to Mr Stefaniak’s quite precisely defined question last week about the terrorist threat evacuation plan, not

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