Profile

Descendants of the Shoah Inc., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Descendants of the Shoah Inc. began in Melbourne, Australia in 1991 as a group of sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors wanting to explore our parents’ experiences, the similarities in our childhoods and how this would affect our own children, the third generation.

We have a membership of approximately 200 children and grandchildren of survivors and interested others including professional people working with survivors and their families. Melbourne has one of the largest populations per capita of Holocaust survivors in the world and is unique in that we are largely a post-war migrant and refugee community.

Our aims are:

  • To represent the shared views and interests of descendants of Holocaust survivors.

  • To better understand ourselves by sharing with other descendants of Holocaust survivors.

  • To perpetuate the authentic memory of the Holocaust and help prevent its recurrence by learning from the past, including the individual experiences of survivors.

  • To address trans-generational psychological issues, such as unresolved grief and loss.

  • To counter racism and anti-semitism by forming links and offering support to other groups facing prejudice and bigotry.

  • To be pro-active in the Jewish community and the community at large on issues such as caring for our survivors, promoting understanding of their special needs and fundraising to enable such activities to continue and grow.

Our meetings are held in various forms: guest speakers, sharing sessions, panel discussions, film and theatre evenings, a book club and a special end of year function. Other activities include involvement with the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre and Friends of the Holocaust Centre; the Jewish Museum; Jewish Community Services, in particular the Holocaust Survivors Project and links with Melbourne's Child Survivors Group. We have bi-monthly meetings and publish a regular newsletter.

Members receive an informative newsletter, which includes reviews of previous meetings, a calendar of our forthcoming meetings as well as other events of interest and listings of media events and Internet links.

Over the fourteen years we have been operating our meetings have covered a diverse range of topics such as:

  • Coping with Ageing Survivor Parents
  • Family Therapy for the Second Generation and their Families
  • The Third Generation
  • War Crimes Tribunal
  • Oskar Schindler
  • The Abused - Abuse Cycle
  • Child Survivors - Factors which have influences their lives and achievements
  • Impact of the Loss of Grandparents on the second Generation
  • Art and the Holocaust
  • What has been learnt from the Holocaust
  • Swiss Banks
  • Researching your Family Tree
  • The Stolen Children of Aboriginal Families
  • Observance of Religious Festivals in the Camps

Our invited speakers have been drawn from an eminent list of people in the wider community including:

  • Mark Baker Historian and Author of “The Fiftieth Gate”
  • Arnold Zable Teacher and Author of “Jewels and Ashes”
  • Ramona Kowal Media Presenter and Author of “The Samovar”

As well as social workers, a gerontologist, psychiatrists and psychologists, journalists, university professors, a genealogist, artists, actors, a photographer, a lawyer representing claimants against Swiss Banks to name a few.

Every person has a different reason for attending a meeting of the Descendants of the Shoah. Whatever these needs may be, everyone comes away from a meeting with some enlightenment of the issues and a celebration of life. Overall, participants in our meeting gain a positive and insightful understanding of themselves, their heritage and the Holocaust in perspective.

The Descendants of the Shoah Inc. is secular and not affiliated with any communal or religious institution.

To contact Descendants of the Shoah Inc. send email to: DOS Inc.