Page 1636 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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The date of Holocaust Remembrance Day falls near the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April 1943. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all the ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It had been created by Nazi authorities in 1940. In 1942 German forces rounded up 300,000 Jewish people in the Warsaw Ghetto and transported them to death camps. In the face of this tragedy, the 60,000 Jewish people remaining in the ghetto organised themselves and prepared to resist any future attacks.

When German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants in April 1943, the Warsaw uprising began. Up against thousands of heavily armed German troops supported by artillery, 750 Jewish fighters with minimal weaponry were able to hold out for 27 days. This was despite the fact the Germans ordered the ghetto to be razed to the ground. There were also countless individual acts of protest in camps and on trains. Despite all their suffering, the prisoners were determined to live with dignity through the torment.

At the event I attended, Australian author Morris Gleitzman spoke of one man whose story is especially moving. Janusz Korczack was a Polish Jewish children’s author who helped run an orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto for Jewish children. In 1942 the Nazis came to collect the nearly 200 orphans and a dozen staff members to take them to the Treblinka death camp. The Nazis offered Korczack sanctuary several times due to his popularity as an author. But Korczack turned them down repeatedly and stayed with his children until the very end.

Eyewitness accounts describe the procession of Korczack and the children to the deportation point for the death camps. The children were dressed in their best clothes and in a cheerful mood. Korczack had told them that they were going for a trip to the country.

The story of Janusz Korczack inspired Morris Gleitzman’s children’s novel Once, the first in a fictional series about the Holocaust. Holocaust Remembrance Day and Gleitzman’s work ask us to remember these horrors and these stories; to remember the best and the worst that human beings are capable of. We as a community must remember these lessons of the past if we are to prevent such horrors occurring in the future.

Celebrate Gungahlin Festival

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (6.57): On Saturday 29 April I was thrilled to join Alistair Coe and our community in celebrating everything that makes Gungahlin such a great place to live, work and raise a family. I am, of course, referring to the third annual Celebrate Gungahlin Festival. I do not shy away from telling anyone who is willing to listen that my electorate throws the best parties in the territory.

This year’s festival continued to prove that point. Over 5,000 people and 89 community stalls contributed to making this year’s festival the most successful to date. The day was jam-packed with live entertainment and performances ranging from Bollywood dancing and group yoga to the Cornerstone Church Choir.

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