COA is privileged to serve our seniors. In doing so we have come to know a number of veterans, and their family members. It came to our attention that we honour those who passed away in war, that there are memorials to Jewish soldiers in ACT, in Sydney, and around Australia. But what about those who did not pass away, but returned to our shores to create meaningful lives, and to contribute to Australian and Jewish society. In looking at our veterans we realised many of these amazing people had never been honoured for their part in keeping our  country, and countries around the world, safe and free.

So, with funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, we started a project to find out all we could about our veterans, and gathered eight stories of COA members who fought with the Allies and returned to Australia to make their lives here after their duty was done.

We chose our veterans from all areas of the world where the allied forces were present, both during and after the Second World War. Some fought with the British forces, some with the Australian forces, one even fought with the Russian Allies, so the variety of experience was very different, yet in some ways their experiences on the ground were eerily similar.

We scheduled interviews with our veterans, or in some cases their widows, and asked permission to raid their family albums to locate pictures, showing our veterans in  uniform, and in the years after.

Finally we produced our book “Honouring those who returned”.

As  part of our annual Australia Day celebrations, we invited Dave Sharma MP and Paula Masselos MP, to present copies of the book to the veterans or family members who helped us piece it together.

It was a truly moving event, and joyful for those receiving books. We also want to thank President of NAJEX, Roger Selby and Waverley Councillor, Leon  Goltsman for being with us on the day. A very special thank you to Rabbi Sandy Shudnow who not only gave us his story for the book but also led a prayer for the fallen to complete our ceremony.

If you would like to see the book, please come and visit us in the office where we have a few copies available to look at, and we are producing an online version for pur website.