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Holocaust museum a beacon of light


A Holocaust survivor’s dream of a museum and education centre in Adelaide has moved a step closer to reality with the launch of a major fundraising campaign for the project.

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Andrew Steiner, 85, is a local artist who has been educating students in South Australia for the past three decades to ensure that future generations remember the six million Jews and other innocent victims murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.

Mr Steiner was born in Hungary and was forced into hiding with his family after the Nazis attacked Budapest in 1944. He and his sister, mother and father narrowly escaped the fate of 11 of his extended family, who were executed by the Nazis, and migrated to Australia in 1948.

After discussing his vision of a Holocaust museum with Archbishop Wilson, who instigated the annual Remembrance of the Shoah service in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, the Adelaide Archdiocese provided space in Fennescey House in Wakefield Street for the museum.

Since early this year, Mr Steiner has been running education programs for schools in Fennescey House which already houses a number of artworks and displays related to the Holocaust.

He said with rising tensions across the world, the need to educate future generations about the Holocaust and ensure the message of ‘never again’ was instilled in young people had never been greater.

Plans for the museum and education centre, which will be open to the public, were launched on March 25. It was also announced that Gandel Philanthropy had pledged to match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 to launch the fundraising campaign.

The museum will work closely with the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne to offer the best educational experience and ensure the intergenerational transfer of stories of survival to future generations.

Links will also be developed with other diverse communities in Adelaide who have fled persecution and/or genocide, with a goal of promoting tolerance, compassion and human rights.

The launch of the fundraising campaign featured keynote speaker Alpha Cheng, the son of the late Curtis Cheng who was tragically shot by a 15-year-old extremist outside NSW Police Headquarters in 2015.

A high school teacher, Alpha participated in the Gandel Holocaust Studies Scholarship for Australian Educators and through this experience of meeting Holocaust survivors, he was inspired to spread the message of hope and tolerance.

Now an advocate for gun control and speaking out against racism, hate and prejudice, Alpha is the inaugural ambassador for Courage to Care Victoria, championing Holocaust education for a modern audience.

The matching grant from Gandel Philanthropy will fund the design and fit out of the museum’s main gallery and the permanent Holocaust exhibition.

The Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Steiner Education Centre plan to raise a total of $270,000 with public donations for the renovation and fit out of the two smaller galleries.

Mr Steiner acknowledged the support of Archbishop Wilson. “I have been blessed by His Grace’s friendship for a number of years…this kind of interfaith, collaborative partnership – I’m not aware of this happening anywhere in the world,” he said.

“SA is known for a lot of firsts and is known as the city of light; this is a very powerful beacon of light on all the horrors going on around the world.”


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