Lest We Forget

war 2

The Twenty Fifth of April is a day in Australia and New Zealand called ANZAC Day, a commemoration of the armed forces of both Australia and New Zealand who served firstly in the Great War and every subsequent war, battle and peace keeping force since. It is a day of commemoration for those that died, those that were wounded, and the many who offered their bodies and souls to ensure that their children, grandchildren and countrymen would remain free.

My great grandfather was of the original ANZAC’s, he was a soldier and a fighter and a protector of the freedoms we hold so dear 99 years later. He was honestly a hero; one whom unfortunately I did not get to meet.

Several years ago I organized, as a member of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation Board of Management, a Shabbat ANZAC Day service due to the day falling on Shabbat for the first time in over 10 years. It was an amazing moment to see dozens of spouses, children, grandchildren of retired servicemen, as well as a handful of servicemen themselves come to the synagogue service, receive aliyot to the Torah, and receive their much deserved recognition for their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families all these many years.

ANZAC Day holds a huge amount of meaning for me, both as a New Zealander, but more importantly as a Jew. Every single day, three times in fact, we recall the memory of our forefathers, asking them to request on our behalf or perhaps trying to emulate their deeds. We pray, calling out to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, many also recalling Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, noting their past and their impact on our people, and hoping that through their merit we can be elevated.  Each and every Shabbat and Yom Tov, we call upon another group of people; the many soldiers and protectors of the Land of Israel. We plead with God, to ensure that they will be protected, safeguarded, and steadfast in their task of ensuring our survival. A week from now, the Jewish people, the world over will come together to commemorate the tens of thousands of soldiers that have perished, and the many more that have been wounded, protecting our Jewish ideals, and our homeland.

It is therefore easy, when we are culturally engrained with the notion of bringing to the forefront of our daily lives, the memories of those that have shaped our people, that I have such a strong connection with ANZAC Day.

New Zealand, which was such a small country, to send more than 10% of its entire population to war, totaling more than 90% of those aged between 18 and 25, with nearly 100 Auckland Jewish servicemen and women in the Great War, the proportion of those who risked their lives was expansive and impressive. These men who were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for a war that was happening on the other side of the world, and on many occasions to be treated as mere pawns in morbid game of chess, proves the strength of our soldiers and our community. And then again to send husbands, children and grandchildren back into the trenches, in the tens of thousands, including more than a 150 members of the Auckland Jewish community, again showed their commitment to their flag, their country and their king who called upon them to serve. Everyone knew someone who served, everyone who knew someone who passed away, every family had an absence left by the war, and every community erected its memorials.

This year ANZAC Day means much more; I no longer just remember the souls and families of those on the list below (found at the Auckland Hebrew Congregation), those who were found on Jewish memorials around the country, or the many stories I heard of returned servicemen growing up. Having been appointed as Rabbi of the National Jewish Memorial Centre in Canberra, Australia, this past month, I am now intrinsically tied to our brethren across the Abel Tasman Sea. Our new community was established in the memory of those Australian Jewish servicemen who took up arms in defense of their country, and who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Our hope is that we do not experience war, that we never again feel the pain and suffering of our ancestors, and that we no longer have to send our men and women, our husbands and wives, our sons and daughters, and our loved ones to war in a far off land.

But if we do, and for those that are currently upholding our values and ideals in service of their country; we hope that Hashem provides for them and ensures that they have the cloud of glory protecting them.

Lest we forget, and no longer remember those that have passed, and those that have served; including, but definitely not exhausting the following men and women; (please if you have other names include them in the comments so we may elevate their memories together.


Auckland Hebrew Congregation Wall of Memory

World War One Supreme Sacrifice;
M.S. Caro
G.H. Lury
R.P. Herman
O Simon
S. Wolfe
F.L. Davis
E.P. Hayman
H Abrahams
R Barlin
M Barnett
A R Benjamin
*M Berker Bernstein
*W Cantor
N S Cassrels
L Cohen
*R Freeman
D Freeman
H Green
H M Goldstein
D L Goldwater
C A Herman
A Hochman
*A Josephson
*M Kay
G S Keesing
I Lees
H Lees
N Levine
*B Levy
L Lewis
M Lyons
J Meltzer
H Meltzer
*I Meltzer
S Meltzer
B E Meyers
L Myers
C Nathan
H L Nathan
A Neumegn
P S Ornstein
S Ornstein
S Pezaro
*I Phillips
*L Phillips
L Pizer
*H L Possenniskie
J Samuel
V Samuel
I Samson
I Sittner
N Solomons
*P Solomons
*A Wachner
*D Wilford
H Wilford
*H Wittner
S N Ziman
L I Ziman
Nurse Miss M Mendelssohn
Home Service:
M Ballin
H D Caro
B Davis
H Emanuel
I J Goldstine
G Gordon
S Green
W Lewis
F Lees
L Mendelssohn
L Neumegen
A Robinson
W Schneideman
World War Two; Supreme Sacrifice;
R De Costa
H Faine
I Forman
N M Louisson
K J Moses
H G Rose
C Sole
A M Ziman
D J Mitchell
J Abrahams
L Albert
A Astor
H Barlin
E I Barnett
R Menjamin
B Bensky
G Berman
C Bernstone
J Blitz
B Bookman
M Buchman
P Buchman
S M Braham
C Brodie
S Carr
D L Cassrels
G A Cassrels
A Chapman
P Collinson
J Coggin
N Cohen
M Cook
A D Copeland
P Court
D Davis
D H Davis
J Davis
T M Davis
A H De Costa
J R Esterman
L Esterman
A Faine
M Finkelstein
J Finkelstein
G Fisher
E M Friedlander
P Friedlander
B Gabriel
L D Gluckman
P Goldberg
M Golding
R Golding
L A Goldstone
A N Goldwater
H Goldwater
H Goodman
V Gordon
C M Green
L P Green
E Greenberg
J Hart
A Harris
H Harris
J Harris
G Hadyn
R Henes
H Isaacs
H Jacks
J Jaffe
N Jaffe
A Jones
W F Johnson
B Karp
L D Keesing
P A Keesing
A I Keesing
C V Keesing
J Kissin
L Kissin
F Leinman
L Kushner
M Lazarus
C Levin
Max Levy
M Levy
L A Manning
H Marks
S Marks
M Mauer
J Mauer
G L Meltzer
H Meltzer
J N Meltzer
N Meltzer
A Mitchell
S Mitchell
L Moses
R C Moses
S Moses
P Morgan
K B Myers
D R Nathan
F A Nathan
L D Nathan
P A N Nathan
C H Neumegen
L K Neumegen
H Paykel
M Paykel
F S Pezaro
I M Phillips
E M Pizer
J Porath
D Reefman
J M Reefman
J L Reynolds
A Robinson
H Robinson
L Robinson
M Robinson
P Robinson
H Rosen
M Rosen
O Rosenau
J Ross
L N Ross
M Rubin
J R Salas
M Salas
V Salek
S Samuels
B Shieff
M Shieff
N J Shieff
R M Shrimski
A Silverman
A Slucki
D Sole
C Solomon
P Solomon
H Solomons
T Spira
B spiro
J B Spring
A Stone
H Stone
J Tetro
O Toplis
S Wein
R A Yock
Margaret Lawrence
Daphne Morgan
May Shenkin

* Wounded

About the Author
Rabbi, community developer, father; living life and shaking it up!! Originally from New Zealand, lived in the Big Apple, short stint in Canberra and now residing in Sydney. Alon is the Rabbi of Or Chadash Synagogue and the Director of Programs at Shalom, as well as a doctoral student at LaTrobe University. He writes on the daily study of Daf Yomi on Instagram @insta_talmud Website:
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