Never forget: Queensland’s first Holocaust museum opens

John Crouch |

Holocaust survivor Peter Baruch, whose family escaped from Poland, was at the museum’s opening.
Holocaust survivor Peter Baruch, whose family escaped from Poland, was at the museum’s opening.

Survivors have urged Queenslanders to “never forget” as the state’s first Holocaust museum opens in Brisbane.

The museum aims to educate and inspire people to stand up against intolerance and racism, and remind people of the horrors that can arise from discrimination and hate.

The centre features locally recorded stories of Holocaust survivors and their families who settled in Queensland as well as tributes to non-Jewish people who risked their lives to save Jews during the carnage of Nazi-occupied Europe in World War II.

“The Holocaust was one of the most tragic and evil times in history that saw the murder of six million Jews and five million other people simply because they were different,” museum and education centre chairman Jason Steinberg said on Friday

“So this museum shares those stories and educates the next generation so we can never forget those atrocities.”

Among the survivors at the opening was Peter Baruch, who recounted his family’s escape from Poland thanks to the determination of his mother and father, and a Japanese consulate official in Lithuania who helped refugees flee the Nazis.

“You really cannot fully understand how important this Holocaust museum is to the few survivors,” he told reporters.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk helped officially open the centre and reflected on her own family’s suffering during the war.

Mr Palaszczuk recalled the plight of her Polish grandparents who were sent to labour camps.

We must never, ever forget the atrocities that were brought upon Jewish people, the premier said.

“”I really know my father (former state Labor minister Henry) was looking forward to coming through here,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk also pointed to her government’s proposed laws banning swastikas and other hate symbols amid concerns about rising anti-Semitism in Australia and around the world.

An online museum will be available, and there are plans for a mobile facility to travel throughout the state to allow access to resources at the centre.

The museum is in a space provided by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, and has received funding the from the state and federal governments and Brisbane City Council.