Injustice, Survival, Memory 2022

By Emil Wittenberg (artist), 23 May 1941. Copyright is held by Martin Burman (permission to use has been granted).


Date & time

Tue 06 Sep 2022, 9am – Thu 08 Sep 2022, 3.25pm


RSSS Building 146 Ellery Cres, ACTON ACT 2601

The ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, Humanities Research Centre and School of History presents

Injustice, Survival, Memory: Marking 80 years since the Dunera and Queen Mary internees arrived in Australia

This special three-day event will host a range of speakers from Australia and abroad who will consider a broad range of histories and experiences on the themes of injustice, survival, memory, including those of First Nations peoples, and refugee groups who have sought safe haven in Australia. Marking the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the Dunera and Queen Mary internees in Australia, the conference explores the role of injustice as a historical force and the memories of people who have survived persecution.

The conference will be held in person on the lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, at the ANU campus (RSSS Building, 146 Ellery crescent), from September 6-8, 2022.

The conference is open to the public, but registrations are required. 

Also see Program attached below

Program Day 1, Tuesday 6 September
Program Day 2, Wednesday 7 September
Program Day 3, Thursday 8 September

Tuesday 6 September 2022

9am: Attendees gather at RSSS Auditorium, ANU
9.15am: Welcome to Country
9.20am: Welcome: Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences

SESSION ONE: Rae Frances to chair
9.30am-10.20am: Keynote address to be delivered by Peter Yu Australia’s Black History
10.20-10.40am: Morning tea

SESSION TWO: Bill Gammage to chair
10.40am-11.20am: Henry ReynoldsTruth Telling in Contemporary Australia
11.20am-12noon: Mark McKenna ‘If our consciences are to be purged of the shame’: Reverend Frank Woodwell, the 1967 referendum, and the campaign for Aboriginal rights in Southeast NSW.
12noon-12.40pm: Elizabeth Balderstone and Russell Mullett The Warrigal Creek massacre: a discussion
12.40pm-1.20pm: Lunch

SESSION THREE: Suzanne Rutland to chair 
1.20pm-2.00pm: Yuriko Nagata Japanese Internment in Australia during the Second World War
2pm-2.40pm: Peter Monteath Germans in Loveday
2.40pm-3pm: afternoon tea

SESSION FOUR: Jay Winter to chair
3pm-3.40pm: Avril Alba Australia, the Holocaust and Genocide: Shifting Landscapes of Memory
3.40pm-4.20pm: Sheila Fitzpatrick Displacement and Reinvention: Postwar Russian Immigration from Europe
4.20pm-5pm: Anoma Pieris The Vienna Room: aesthetics, sovereignty, and diasporic identity

Wednesday 7 September 2022

SESSION FIVE: Kylie Message to chair
9am-9.40am: Yujie Zhu Heritage-making of war memories: Remembering the Nanjing Massacre in nation-building
9.40am-10.20am: Louise Anemaat Collections and memory: The Dunera collections at the State Library of New South Wales
10.20am-10.40am: morning tea

SESSION SIX: Peter Monteath to chair
10.40am-11.20am: Claire Loughnan Survival and erasure in immigration detention
11.20am-12noon: David Manne Title tbc
12noon-12.40pm: Joy Damousi Cold War Immigrants: Political surveillance of Greek Immigrants in Australia
12.40pm-1.20pm: lunch

SESSION SEVEN: Suzanne Rutland to chair
1.20pm-2pm: Jan Láníček ‘This has nothing to do with Australia’: Revisiting historical connections between Australia and the Holocaust
2pm-2.40pm: Vanessa Agnew The perpetual journeys of Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz
2.40pm-3pm: afternoon tea

SESSION EIGHT: Bill Gammage to chair
3pm-3.40pm: Nick Ross (paper to be delivered remotely) The Last Convict Ship to Australia
3.40pm-4.20pm: Sasha Grishin Erwin Fabian in retrospect
4.20pm-5pm: Jennifer Nadel The Impact of the Unknown on the Unknowing: Following my Father’s Footsteps
7pm: conference dinner.  Details tba.

Thursday 8 September 2022

SESSION NINE: Suzanne Rutland to chair
9am-9.40am: Justin Zobel Cleric, critic, broadcaster, academic: Reflections on Dunera boy Werner Pelz
9.40am-10.20am: Pauline Lyle-Smith Remembering Professor Mayer: A Personal Tribute to Henry Mayer and a Record of his Lasting Legacy
10.20am-11am: Ian Maxwell and Joseph Toltz Sounds of Europe: subversive expression in ‘Sergeant Snow White’
11am-11.20am: morning tea

SESSION TEN: Joy Damousi to chair
11.20am-12noon: Janet Arndt The Arndts’ Long Journey to Freedom
12noon-12.40pm: Kate Garrett Displacement and the Written Word: Translating the Poetry of Franz Philipp 
12.40pm-1.20pm: Carol Bunyan The other Dunera and Queen Mary internees
1.20pm-2pm: lunch

SESSION ELEVEN: Rae Frances to chair
2pm-2.40pm: Seumas Spark ‘Wife dead, son OK’: The Story of George Chodziesner and his son Ben
2.40pm-3.20pm: Jay Winter An Intimate History of Survival
3.20pm-3.25pm: Thanks and farewell: Rae Frances

ABSTRACTS AND BIOGRAPHIES (in alphabetical order)

Vanessa AGNEW The perpetual journeys of Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz
Avril ALBA Australia, the Holocaust and Genocide: Shifting Landscapes of Memory
Louise ANEMAAT Collections and memory: The Dunera collections at the State Library of New South Wales
Janet ARNDT The Arndts’ Long Journey to Freedom
Elizabeth BALDERSTONE and Russell MULLETT The Warrigal Creek massacre
Carol BUNYAN The other Dunera and Queen Mary internees
Joy DAMOUSI Cold War Immigrants: Political surveillance of Greek Immigrants in Australia
Sheila FITZPATRICK Displacement and Reinvention: Postwar Russian Immigration from Europe
Kate GARRETT Displacement and the Written Word: Translating the Poetry of Franz Philipp
Sasha GRISHIN Erwin Fabian in retrospect
Jan LÁNÍČEKThis has nothing to do with Australia’: Revisiting historical connections between Australia and the Holocaust
Claire LOUGHNAN Survival and erasure in immigration detention
Pauline LYLE-SMITH Remembering Professor Mayer: A Personal Tribute to Henry Mayer and a Record of his Lasting Legacy
David MANNE Title to be confirmed
Ian MAXWELL and Joseph TOLTZ Sounds of Europe: subversive expression in ‘Sergeant Snow White’
Mark MCKENNA ‘If our consciences are to be purged of the shame’: Reverend Frank Woodwell, the 1967 referendum, and the campaign for Aboriginal rights in Southeast NSW.
Peter MONTEATH Germans in Loveday
Jennifer NADEL The Impact of the Unknown on the Unknowing: Following my Father’s Footsteps
Yuriko NAGATA Japanese Internment in Australia during the Second World War
Anoma PIERIS The Vienna Room: aesthetics, sovereignty, and diasporic identity
Henry REYNOLDS Truth Telling in Contemporary Australia
Nick ROSSThe Last Convict Ship to Australia 
Seumas SPARK ‘Wife dead, son OK’: The Story of George Chodziesner and his son Ben
Jay WINTER An Intimate History of Survival
Peter YU Australia’s Black History
Yujie ZHU Heritage-making of war memories: Remembering the Nanjing Massacre in nation-building
Justin ZOBEL Cleric, critic, broadcaster, academic: Reflections on Dunera boy Werner Pelz


Vanessa AGNEW The perpetual journeys of Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz
The German-Jewish writer, Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, fled Germany in 1935 for Scandinavia, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and London, prior to being interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man. Deported on the Dunera, he spent two years in Australia before drowning at the age of 27 when his ship bound for England was torpedoed. The recent rediscovery of Boschwitz's work caused a literary sensation when his novels appeared for the first time in German in 2018 and new English translation in 2021. Menschen neben dem Leben (People Parallel to Life) deals with Berlin underlife in the 1920s, while Der Reisende (The Man Who Took Trains / The Passenger) provides a gritty look at the everyday persecution of Jews after Kristallnacht. Whereas many refugee narratives follow a standard structure of cataclysm followed by journey to salvation, the paper examines Der Reisende asa novel of perpetual displacement. In this sense, its narrative form, as well as its themes of alienation, mistrust, and micro-aggression, more closely echo conditions for many forcibly displaced people today. Its belated urgency invites readers to reexamine common understandings of the refugee condition as bounded and ultimately salutary.

Vanessa Agnew is Professor of English at Universität Duisburg-Essen and maintains a longstanding connection with ANU. She directs Academy in Exile’s Critical Thinking Program at Freie Universität Berlin.vHer monograph, Enlightenment Orpheus (Oxford UP, 2008), won the Kenshur Prize and the American Musicological Society’s Lockwood Award. She co-edited Settler and Creole Reenactment (Palgrave, 2010), issues of Criticism 46 (2004) and Rethinking History 11 (2007), Refugee Routes (transcript, 2020), Routledge Handbook of Reenactment Studies (2020), and Reenactment Case Studies (forthcoming). Her co-curated exhibitions include Right to Arrive and What We Brought with Us, which documents objects that accompanied intellectuals into exile. Her children’s book on refugee flight, Wir schaffen das - We’ll Make It, appeared under the name Marius Brereton with Sefa Verlag in 2021.

Avril ALBA Australia, the Holocaust and Genocide: Shifting Landscapes of Memory
Over recent decades, Australians have witnessed and participated in an often-controversial process of “coming to terms with the past”. Central to this process have been debates as to whether the murder and dispossession of Australia’s Indigenous population over 250 years of white settlement is most aptly described as genocide. These debates have often deployed the conceptual paradigm of the Holocaust as a way of benchmarking and evaluating these claims, with commentators often drawing sharply contrasting conclusions as to its efficacy. For example, Neil Levi posited that the Holocaust has been a largely potent metaphor in Australian public life (Levi 2007), while for Dirk Moses and Tony Barta, the opposite was true with the long shadow of the Holocaust more often serving to cloud and delegitimise the call to understand Aboriginal dispossession as genocidal (Barta 2001, Moses 2003). This paper will examine these the efficacy of these conceptual paradigms through a focus on the debates and discussions that took place in the aftermath of the Bringing Them Home Report, published by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 1997.

Dr Avril Alba is Associate Professor in Holocaust Studies and Jewish Civilisation and Chair of the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney. She teaches and researches in the broad areas of Holocaust and modern Jewish history with a focus on Jewish and Holocaust museums. Her monograph, The Holocaust Memorial Museum: Sacred Secular Space, was published in 2015. From 2002 to 2011 Avril was the Education Director at the Sydney Jewish Museum, where she also served as the Project Director/Curator for the permanent exhibitions ‘Culture and Continuity’ (2009), ‘The Holocaust’ (2017), and ‘The Holocaust and Human Rights’(2018). She is currently working on an ARC Discovery project, ‘The Memory of the Holocaust in Australia’.

Louise ANEMAAT Collections and memory: The Dunera collections at the State Library of New South Wales
Forced displacement is both an historic and a contemporary story. In considering the Dunera collections held at the State Library of New South Wales, this paper considers the role of collecting institutions in safeguarding memories that make up identity; it considers the risks in selecting memories deemed worthy of preservation, the role of collecting institutions in recording and validating memories and why that remains so important in contemporary Australia; and how the trauma of physical and cultural displacement was sometimes alleviated through drawing and recording thoughts and impressions, of making do and making more out of a situation through intellectual engagement with it.

Louise Anemaat completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies at University of NSW and also undertook part of her undergraduate degree and professional training in Germany. She has published and lectured widely on the collections of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, where she is Executive Director. She has worked closely with the acquisition, processing and curation of the manuscript and pictures collections over many years and is the author of Natural Curiosity: Unseen Art of the First Fleet (NewSouth Publishing, 2014), an analysis of the traditions of natural history art production in Australia and Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Janet ARNDT The Arndts’ Long Journey to Freedom
Kurt and Wally Arndt left Nazi Germany in December 1938, sailing to Singapore on the Fushimi Maru.  After nearly two years in Singapore, in September 1940 they were declared enemy aliens and deported to Australia on the Queen Mary.  In Australia Kurt and Wally were interned at Tatura, where they remained until 1942.  This paper discusses their time in internment, their path to freedom, and the post-war lives they fashioned as naturalised Australians.

Janet Arndt was born in Melbourne on D-day, 6 June 1944.  Her father Kurt wanted to call her Gloria Victoria, but thankfully her mother Wally liked the movie star Jeanette Macdonald, so Janet it was.  At the time of Janet’s birth, Kurt was in the 8th Employment Company, an army unit comprised of refugee aliens.  Janet became a primary school teacher, then changed tack and taught English to migrants.  She now volunteers as a tour guide at the Jewish Museum of Australia and at the Duldig Studio art house museum.  She has a great interest in singing and has been a jazz vocalist for over 30 years, performing both with her own band and many others.

Elizabeth BALDERSTONE and Russell MULLETT The Warrigal Creek massacre
In mid-1843 up to 180 GunaiKurnai men, women and children were massacred by European settlers at Warrigal Creek, Gippsland, in one of the most ruthless instances of violence in Australia’s colonial history. The murders tore at the GunaiKurnai connection to Country: for the GunaiKurnai people, the effects of the massacre were, and are, profound. This paper will explore memories and legacies of the massacre, from GunaiKurnai and non-Aboriginal perspectives.

Elizabeth (Libby) Balderstone is a farmer who owns and runs the ‘Warrigal Creek’ property at Darriman in Victoria. It was on this land that the Warrigal Creek massacre occurred. Libby and her family have preserved the massacre site as a place of memory for the GunaiKurnai, and for all Australians. Under the family’s custodianship the site has been returned to native bush and is kept as a place of quiet. Libby sees this as her duty to the GunaiKurnai who were murdered there. She seeks and follows GunaiKurnai advice in decisions relating to the massacre site, including on the matter of ensuring permanent protection into the future.

Russell Mullett is an archaeologist and GunaiKurnai elder. Uncle Russell is RAP (Registered Aboriginal Party) Manager for the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the GunaiKurnai people, the traditional owners of GunaiKurnai Country. He has worked in the field of Aboriginal cultural heritage for 35 years. He sits on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, among other appointments.

Carol BUNYANThe other Dunera and Queen Mary internees
and Queen Mary internees can generally be divided into two main groups with sub-divisions within each.  Dunera Lives volumes 1 and 2 focus almost exclusively on the majority, those who fled Nazi discrimination, primarily but not solely on racial grounds.  Less well known is the story of the other group of internees: they were merchant seamen; enemy aliens, including 200 Italians; non-enemy aliens; and a few British.  This paper describes the composition of this second group, highlighting some of the different experiences and outcomes for these internees.

Carol Bunyan is an independent scholar who studied history at ANU.  Her Dunera research, started in 2009, is ongoing.  She contributed to both volumes of Dunera Lives. Carol's databases have expanded to encompass the Queen Mary internees, other Straits Settlements internees, and the Italians on the Dunera

Joy DAMOUSI Cold War Immigrants: Political surveillance of Greek Immigrants in Australia
During the 1950s and 1960s, political events in Greece and Australia resulted in the close scrutiny of members of the Greek community by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).  While many of them became active in political events such as the anti-conscription campaigns against the Vietnam war, the military coup in Greece in 1967 also aroused great interest and protest in Australia.  Many but not all Greek political activists were members of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA).  This paper considers the political activism by post-war migrants and explores the issue of political assimilation, arguing that assimilation was not only a cultural but also a political choice.  By doing so it reflects on the injustice of surveillance of those who did not politically assimilate into a Cold War environment and the lengths to which ASIO went to undermine the political survival of members of the left-wing communities.  What was at stake was the memory of past experiences shaped by war, which informed political convictions formed in a new society.  Drawing on the extensive ASIO files on Greek activists, this paper analyses these unexamined sources to argue for a more complex history of the political agency of migrants.

Professor Joy Damousi is Director of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Catholic University and Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the University of Melbourne. Her recent publications include ‘Forced migration and oceanic humanitarianism: The paradox of danger and saviour on the ocean in a Vietnamese refugee boat journey’, The Historical Journal, 2021 and ‘Humanitarianism and children refugee sponsorship: The Spanish Civil War and the Global Campaign of Esme Odgers’, Journal of Women’s History, 32, 1, Spring 2020,111-134.  Her most recent book is The Humanitarians: Child War Refugees and Australian Humanitarianism in a Transnational World, 1919-1975, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming 2022).

Sheila FITZPATRICK Displacement and Reinvention: Postwar Russian Immigration from Europe
From 1947-51, the International Refugee Organization resettled almost 200,000 Displaced Persons from Europe in Australia, including 10-20,000 former Soviet citizens and post-1917 Russian emigres.  The numbers are uncertain because so many of them were travelling under false identities because of their fear of forced repatriation to the USSR or their wish to disguise wartime collaboration.  Migration always involves a degree of self-reinvention.  This paper takes an extreme case to examine a phenomenon that is often ignored in histories of migration.

Sheila Fitzpatrick is a Professor at Australian Catholic University and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago.  Her most recent books are On Stalin’s Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), Mischka’s War: A European Odyssey of the 1940s (Melbourne: MUP/ London: I.B.Tauris, 2017), Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union, edited with Mark Edele and Atina Grossmann (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2017), White Russians, Red Peril: a Cold War History of Immigration to Australia (Melbourne: Latrobe University Press, 2021) and The Shortest History of the Soviet Union (Melbourne: Black Inc/London: Old Street Publishing/New York: Columbia University Press, 2022).

Kate GARRETT Displacement and the Written Word: Translating the Poetry of Franz Philipp
Born in Vienna in 1914, Franz Philipp pursued his passion for art history, studying under many acclaimed scholars.  He was expelled from the University of Vienna before he was able to complete his doctorate in 1938.  Following his deportation from Britain on the Dunera, and internment in Australia, he continued his studies at the University of Melbourne, and became a celebrated art historian and lecturer.  Among the belongings Philipp left behind was a journal: a collection of poetry that Philipp composed in his mother tongue of German during these tumultuous years.  This paper is a bilingual exploration of these poems, never before translated into English, as they traverse Philipp's early years in Vienna and then his time in Britain, where his words begin to tell of homesickness and uncertainty.  It culminates in the poems Philipp wrote during internment and beyond, which explore themes of loss, displacement, belonging and mercy.  Philipp did not compose poetry with the intention of sharing it with an audience; his poems were never written for publication.  For this reason his poetry provides a rare and deeply personal glimpse into the language of displacement.  This paper offers a dual perspective on this body of work: one rooted in the historical context and ongoing relevance, the other in the role of translation in bringing to light frequently marginalised voices.

Kate Garrett is a Melbourne-based German translator, who works with both commercial and private clients.  She is a graduate of Monash University's Translation and Interpreting program.  Kate has a particular interest in historical translation, with a focus on the Second World War.  She has translated excerpts of autobiographies, letters and poetry for various projects.  Some of her translations are published in Dunera Lives: A Visual History and Dunera Lives: Profiles.

Sasha GRISHIN Erwin Fabian in retrospect
Erwin Fabian was born in Berlin in 1915, the son of a distinguished expressionist painter, Max Fabian. By the time he was ten, he had lost his father, by the time he was twenty-two, he had lost his homeland, and by the time he was twenty-five, he had lost his freedom. By the age of twenty-five, Erwin Fabian was reclassified by the British authorities from being a Jewish refugee fleeing Nazi Germany to an undesirable enemy alien to be deported to Australia for internment in our internal prison camps in remote locations of Hay, Orange and Tatura. He was deported on the infamous Dunera, which brought many German and Austrian Jewish cultural refugees fleeing the Nazis in Europe. They were sent to Australia to be interned, but ultimately, collectively, they were to do more for the creation of Australia as a clever country, than decades of federal government policies and funded programs. Although Fabian’s juvenile artwork was figurative and frequently vividly reflected his immediate surroundings, most of his mature art – the sculpture as well as the graphics – was non-figurative or what is popularly described as abstract. Themes of loss, bereavement and the struggle to survive run throughout his oeuvre and much is viewed through the veil of memory. When Fabian died in 2020, aged 104, he was widely regarded as one of Australia’s most significant sculptors. This paper explores how the circumstances of Erwin Fabian’s life, including his internment and the death of his daughter, impacted on his art through a process of distilled memory.

Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA, is an Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, who works internationally as an art historian, art critic and curator. He studied at the universities of Melbourne, Moscow, London and Oxford and has served several terms as visiting scholar at Harvard University. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, in 2005 he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Australian art and art history and in 2008 was awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. He has published over thirty books and over two thousand articles and catalogue essays dealing with various aspects of art. In 2013 his massive Australian Art: A History was published by Melbourne University Publishing, in 2015 his monographs on John Wolseley (Thames and Hudson), Inge King (Macmillan) and S.T. Gill (National Library of Australia) were published and in 2022 his books on Erwin Fabian, Murray Walker and Joyce Evans appeared in print.

Jan LÁNÍČEKThis has nothing to do with Australia’: Revisiting historical connections between Australia and the Holocaust
The presentation will focus on the connections between the Australian population and the Holocaust. In the main part I will focus on family and community networks that existed between recent Jewish immigrants in Australia, and their relatives who remained in Nazi Europe during the Holocaust. I aim to show that Australia and its population were part of the global Holocaust geography. Almost 9,000 Jewish refugees arrived in Australia before the war, but almost all of them left behind in Europe close family relatives, in some cases even their spouses, husbands, or children. I will discuss how these recent migrants attempted to use family connections to bring their relatives to Australia, or support them in other ways when the immigration routes closed. I will demonstrate that there was a community in Australia that was deeply involved in the Holocaust, and argue that the Holocaust was a part of our history.

Dr Jan Láníček is Associate Professor in Modern European and Jewish History at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and the Freilich Visiting Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre, ANU, in 2022. He is currently completing a study of post-Holocaust judicial retribution in Czechoslovakia. He also researches Jewish migration to Australia before the Second World War.

Claire LOUGHNAN Survival and erasure in immigration detention
On his release to New Zealand, Behrouz Boochani, Iranian journalist and writer, and former immigration detainee in Papua New Guinea, declared ‘I am happy because I survived.’  His sense of survival is profound, in light of the presentiment of death that has haunted the men held in detention in Papua New Guinea, with 12 deaths there, many of them preventable.  Yet survival does not signal the end of trauma, whether for those detained, or those doing the detaining. Former refugees, as well as detention guards, have spoken of the ongoing suffering which is endured as part of this survival. As a testament to suffering, the memorialisation of sites such as concentration camps, and carceral institutions, often works to recall injustices in order to transform the future. When these sites are razed to the ground, we might ask: what possibility remains for the memorialisation of suffering for those who survived, and for those who didn’t? Upon returning to the Lombrom centre at Manus Island a year after the immigration detention centre there had been closed, with refugees relocated to another centre on Manus and later to Port Moresby, Boochani observed:
‘How can the designers and organisers of Manus prison think that by razing the prison they can eliminate the remnants of the crimes they committed? Do they think that people will not find out about all this in the future?’ Former migration worker Nicole Judge responded: ‘They have destroyed the physical Manus prison, but those who have been sacrificed by this system are still living. As long as we are alive the history of this prison continues.’ This paper explores the ramifications and challenges of enduring, and remembering past and present violence, for those who have survived living and working in immigration detention.

Claire Loughnan is a lecturer in Criminology, at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne. Her research centres on the modes, practices and effects of carceral and confined spaces, including immigration detention, aged care and prisons. She is interested in how people working in these sites manage the tensions that might arise between their professional duties and their ethical obligations, with some becoming complicit in institutional violence, and others choosing to speak out. She is also currently exploring the theoretical implications of the work of Kurdish writer and refugee Behrouz Boochani. Claire is a team member of the international, EU funded Comparative Network on Refugee Externalisation Policies.

Pauline LYLE-SMITH Remembering Professor Mayer: A Personal Tribute to Henry Mayer and a Record of his Lasting Legacy
This paper will focus on the inspiration and influence of Professor Henry Mayer (1919-91), Dunera boy and pioneering academic.  It will cover his early life and the circumstances of his arrival in Australia, his academic career, and the profound effect he exerted as a teacher at the University of Sydney.  I was lucky enough to be one of his pupils, and I treasure the experience, as do many of my contemporaries.

Pauline Lyle-Smith practised law at Freehill, Hollingdale & Page (now Herbert Smith Freehills) in Sydney. After moving to Britain, she founded and developed the unique and successful system of document exchanges (DX) in the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America. She was instrumental in having the law regarding the UK Post Office monopoly relaxed and the law changed to make service of documents ‘good service’ under court rules. The DX system began with the legal and insurance sectors but was extended to a wide range of businesses and organisations including government departments. Pauline then set up and edited the UK Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession. This assesses and ranks the leading law firms, barristers’ chambers, solicitors and barristers across the UK and is now a brand leader in its field internationally. She carried this knowledge forward to help publish Legal Profiles across Australia. She has also assisted in the establishment of leading legal magazines. She has served on various boards and committees and has been closely involved in assisting the local community and businesses in Hammersmith and Fulham for over 20 years, including two years as Mayoress of Hammersmith and Fulham. She is very involved in the interface of the relationship between Britain and Australia. She was Chair of the University of Sydney UK Alumni Association for eight years, and is a Trustee of the Friends of the University of Sydney Trust.

David MANNE Title to be confirmed

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal. He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years.  Since 2001 he has led Refugee Legal’s legal teams in successfully arguing 10 out of 10 landmark High Court challenges. David sat on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia and currently sits on the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee and the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness Advisory Board. He has been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons. He is regularly invited to present at the UN High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges. David has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and is frequently named as one of Australia’s leading immigration lawyers in the Australian edition of Best Lawyers.

Ian MAXWELL and Joseph TOLTZ Sounds of Europe: subversive expression in ‘Sergeant Snow White’

One of the earliest expressions of avant-garde theatre in Australia, ‘Sergeant Snow White’, performed at the Union Theatre in Carlton in 1943, was the Dunera boys’ final, cumulative creative expression. An assemblage of material from revues that had been staged by the internees of HMT Dunera and the Queen Mary, the revue mashes high and popular culture material – music, cinematic, dramatic, even Grand Guignol grotesquery – to create what we might, in retrospect, recognise as a sophisticated post-modern bricolage. The show included a montage of radio bulletins broadcast from occupied Europe, protagonists stalked by a lecherous Big Bad Wolf and a wicked witch in drag, with excerpts from conventional drama (including Brecht) and an extended satirical homage to the adventures of the 8th Employment Company (as the Seven Dwarves) – in the social whirl of wartime Melbourne.

Many of the participants went on to contribute significantly to culture and society worldwide, but very little is known about the local, personal or national impact of ‘Sergeant Snow White’. There is, for example, no entry in the AusStage database about the work. The first analysis of its script (Dümling 2011/2016) was completed by a scholar not fully fluent in English idioms, and the account does not capture either the work’s theatrical/performative provenance, nor the whacky, eclectic humour of those who created it. Little was written about its reception beyond a couple of press mentions; even less is known about its named author, Kurt ‘Doc’ Sternberg. Within the joie de vivre of the script there lies a sardonic edge that belies the bitterness of the circumstances of the cohort of artists, who were slowly becoming aware of the fate of their remaining families in Europe. This paper will engage in a close reading of the text of ‘Sergeant Snow White’ and explore the possibilities of restaging this work, albeit in a new form, for its 80th anniversary in 2023.

Ian Maxwell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. Having trained as a theatre director at the Victorian College of Arts School of Drama, he turned to academic work completing his PhD – an ethnographic study of hip hop culture in suburban Sydney. He has written extensively on Australian theatre history, and in particular about the influence of European modernist practices on local practice. He has also published a significant body of interdisciplinary work on the health and wellbeing of Australian actors.

Dr Joseph Toltz is an Associate in Jewish Studies and Research Support Manager in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The University of Sydney. From 2014-2018 he was co-Investigator on ‘Performing the Jewish Archive’, a UK Arts & Humanities Council large grant, for which he directed the festival ‘Out of the Shadows: rediscovering Jewish music and theatre’ in Sydney. Joseph is completing a co-authored book on the first collection of Holocaust songs (Manchester University Press, 2023), and is composing a song cycle based on musical memories of Guta Goldstein, a child survivor of the Łódź Ghetto (Poland), with a documentary about the process directed by renowned documentary filmmaker, Tim Slade.


Mark MCKENNA ‘If our consciences are to be purged of the shame’: Reverend Frank Woodwell, the 1967 referendum, and the campaign for Aboriginal rights in Southeast NSW. 
In 1966, Reverend Frank Woodwell was appointed Rector of the Anglican parish of Bega in Southeast New South Wales. Over the next eight years, Woodwell stood at the forefront of the campaign for Aboriginal rights on the far south coast. As he later explained, the Aboriginal issue played ‘centre stage’ during his time in the Bega area. With the recent emergence of Woodwell's unpublished memoir, it's possible to appreciate the complex interplay of metropolitan and rural forces that created the momentum for social and political change in one rural town in the 1960s. The history of Woodwell's struggle for justice at the time of the 1967 referendum also raises significant questions about the prospects of any future referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian constitution.

Mark McKenna is one of Australia’s leading historians. He is the author of several prize-winning books, including From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories, Looking for Blackfellas’ Point and An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark, which won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. His latest book, published last year, is Return to Uluru.

Peter MONTEATH Germans in Loveday
Receiving its first internees in June of 1941, the Loveday Internment Camp and its associated work camps grew to become the largest internment camp group in Australia, accommodating at its peak over 5000 civilian internees. Located in an isolated part of rural South Australia, for a time Loveday was perhaps the most multicultural place in Australia, if not the world. While the Germans in Loveday were outnumbered by Japanese and Italians, in their more modest presence they were themselves a remarkably diverse group, including some of the ‘Dunera boys’. This paper highlights the diversity of the Germans in Loveday by exploring three case studies of Germans from vastly different backgrounds who followed very different roads to the South Australian Riverland.

Peter Monteath is Professor of History at Flinders University in Adelaide. He has written two books on internment in Australia and curates the website Together with Yuriko Nagata he co-edited the internment diary of Japanese Loveday internee Miyakatsu Koike under the title Four Years in a Red Coat (Wakefield Press 2022). 

Jennifer NADEL The Impact of the Unknown on the Unknowing: Following my Father’s Footsteps
To what extent does one’s unknown history gain expression in one’s present life? This is the story of how my life was influenced by my father’s experience on the HMT Dunera in 1940 and his subsequent incarceration at the remote internment camp in Hay, together with his earlier flight from Vienna in 1939 on a Kindertransport. My father’s past and Jewish origins were kept from me and my sisters as we grew up, but had a profound influence on my later life. Eighty years on from my father’s deportation from Britain to Australia as one of 2,500 Jewish refugees mistaken for potential spies, I campaign for the rights of refugees and for a more compassionate approach to global issues generally. Through this work I came to Australia, decades after my father’s death, to begin a journey of discovery into his wartime experiences and the lasting impact they have had on the next generation.

Jennifer Nadel is the co-founder of Compassion in Politics, which works on a cross-party basis to put compassion into the heart of political policy and conduct in the United Kingdom and beyond. Nadel is London-based and a qualified barrister, as well as an author, political strategist, international speaker and award-winning journalist. She’s reported for the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN from around the world, run for the UK Parliament twice, and sat on the National Executive of the UK Green Party. She is a trustee of INQUEST, the UK charity which supports the rights of those whose relatives have died in custody. Her first book on domestic violence led to a shift in the law for women who have killed. Her most recent book, the Sunday Times bestseller, WE, is a guide to living a compassionate life. Her next book is a collection of academic essays on compassion to be published next year by Routledge. Her father, the historian George H. Nadel, came to the UK on a Kindertransport and was then deported to Australia on the Dunera.

Yuriko NAGATA Japanese Internment in Australia during the Second World War
It was Australian policy to intern all Japanese in Australia at the outbreak of the Pacific War and 1,141 were taken into custody. Australia also accepted 3,160 other Japanese transferred from neighbouring countries – the Dutch East Indies (DEI), New Caledonia, New Hebrides, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands. My talk focuses on the Australian Japanese. While giving an overview of Japanese internment from arrest to deportation, I will also show how the simple category of ‘Japanese’ included a diverse ethnic mixture. Some of the interned Nikkei Australians or Australian-born Japanese were penalised by laws, policies and procedures that were a direct outcome of the intent of the White Australia Policy – to limit the presence of Asians in Australia.

Yuriko Nagata is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland. The internment of Japanese in Australia was the focus of her doctoral research. Her doctoral thesis was published as a book: Unwanted Aliens; Japanese Internment in Australia During WW2, UQ Press, 1996. This book has become one of the main sources on this subject. She is a founder of Nikkei (Japanese Diaspora) Australia, a web-based group which promotes research, arts and cultural practices and community information exchange about Nikkei in Australia.

Anoma PIERIS The Vienna Room: aesthetics, sovereignty, and diasporic identity
Deep within the California Bungalow exterior that acts as a carapace to disguise it, the Vienna Room at 92 Bourke Road, East Malvern, introduces an extraordinary history of wartime dispossession, displacement and internment to an ordinary Australian suburb. The bungalow’s former residents, artists Karl and Slawa Duldig, through artworks and objects that documented their flight from Nazi Europe, passage through Singapore, and incarceration at Tatura, simulated and adapted former lived spatial relationships channelling avant-garde aesthetic practices into Australia. This paper examines their house museum as illustrating the complex intersections of aesthetics, sovereignty and diasporic identification in the face of wartime injustice, and during exile.

Anoma Pieris is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne.  She has published widely on issues of sovereignty and nationalism, including the book The Architecture of Confinement: Incarceration Camps of the Pacific War (2022) co-authored with Lynne Horiuchi.

Henry REYNOLDS Truth Telling in Contemporary Australia
This paper will respond to the Uluru Statement from the heart, which called for a process of Truth Telling. It will concentrate on the disputes about frontier conflict over the last twenty to twenty-five years and consider where we are now.

Henry Reynolds is now a freelance writer loosely attached to The University of Tasmania. He has been engaged in race politics for fifty years, particularly during thirty odd years working in north Australia. He is the author of numerous books, some more widely read than others.

Nick ROSS The Last Convict Ship to Australia 
Nick’s father’s family fled to England from Nazi Germany. His father, Hans, was interned as an enemy alien then sent on the notorious Dunera voyage to a prison camp in Hay.  He was, thus, on the last convict ship to Australia. Later, Hans joined the British Army. After his death, his family discovered a large bundle of censored and forlorn love letters, along with a treasure trove of documents detailing life on the ship and at the camp where he was one of the administrators. They reveal a story which credits the Australians and shames the British, although Hans himself always maintained that the British maltreatment was an aberration.

Nick Ross is one of the UK’s best-known broadcasters. He established a major crime and security department at University College London and, among other things, now helps run one of the largest acute hospital trusts in the National Health Service.

Seumas SPARK ‘Wife dead, son OK’: The Story of George Chodziesner and his son Ben
Georg Chodziesner managed to escape Germany for Britain in 1939, and in 1940 was deported to Australia on the Dunera. His wife Dorothea and their six-year-old son Ben escaped Germany for Chile in 1941. Dorothea died in 1943, leaving father and son marooned alone on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean. Georg came from a remarkable German literary family. His sister Gertrud, known by her pen name Gertrud Kolmar, won fame as a poet. The philosopher Walter Benjamin was their first cousin. This paper explores the literary history of the Chodziesner family, their wartime tragedies, and their stories of survival. 

Seumas Spark is a co-author of Dunera Lives, a two-volume history of the Dunera boys. 

Jay WINTER An Intimate History of Survival
This paper examines four forms of sociability which helped Dunera and Queen Mary internees to survive their incarceration and begin their lives again once free. The first is family ties.  There were fathers and sons, brothers, cousins on the Dunera, and whole families on the Queen Mary.  Kinship and family life, I believe, made tolerable conditions afflicting isolated individuals.  The second is the presence of women prepared to work for the liberation of loved ones in internment camps.  The third is religious practice, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish, in which communities of the faithful supported each other both before and after liberation.  The fourth is the kinship of military service, particularly in the 8th Employment Company under the sympathetic command of ‘Tip’ Broughton.  His anger at the treatment of the internees fuelled a story of military brotherhood unique in the annals of the Second World War.

Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, and Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. He is a historian of the First World War. In 2017 the Austrian state awarded him the Victor Adler Prize for a lifetime’s work in history. 

Peter YU Australia’s Black History
First Nations Australians have faced unspeakable traumas and injustices since the arrival of the European colonisers. We know this because we lived it, we remember it, and some of it is still happening to us today. In addition to the oral histories First Nations people have traditionally favoured, much of what happened has been recorded in European books, diaries, artwork and other artefacts. And yet, as a nation, Australia has failed to truly come to terms with its traumatic origins. Drawing on examples dating back to the Doctrines of Discovery and Terra Nullius, Professor Peter Yu AM will explore the nature of the emotional responsibility of non-Indigenous Australians for the painful history of the nation, and challenge them to broaden the scope of their empathy to include Indigenous people. Professor Yu will also discuss the ongoing legacies of Indigenous trauma, from his own family’s experiences with ‘blackbirding’ to the more recent ‘history wars’ era spanning prime ministerial reigns from Howard to Morrison.

Professor Peter Yu is a Yawuru man from Broome in the Kimberley region in North West Australia with over 40 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley, and at the state, national and international levels. As an advocate for the social, cultural and economic advancement and well-being of Kimberley and other Aboriginal communities for his entire career, Professor Yu has been instrumental in the development of many community-based organisations and initiatives which have had an enduring influence on the Kimberley region. He was Executive Director of the Kimberley Land Council, and a member of the national leadership team negotiating the Federal Government's response to the 1992 Mabo High Court judgement. Professor Yu was a key negotiator on behalf of the Yawuru Native Title Holders with the Western Australian Government, and recently was Chief Executive Officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group. Professor Yu is the current inaugural Vice-President, First Nations Portfolio at the Australian National University. He is also deputy Chair of the Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance, Board member of Watertrust Australia, Trustee of the Princes Trust Australia, Chair of the Australian Advisory Group to Rio Tinto and Director on the Jawun Board.

Yujie ZHU Heritage-making of war memories: Remembering the Nanjing Massacre in nation-building
On 13 December 2018 a series of activities was organised around the world to commemorate the victims of the mass killings and war crimes committed by Japanese soldiers at Nanjing during the Second World War. The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in China was at the centre of these 81st anniversary commemorations, a site that serves as a national place of remembrance for the atrocity at Nanjing.  However, the representation of such a traumatic historic event is not simply about national recognition and mourning; China uses narratives relating to loss and victimhood to develop regional alliances in the Asia-Pacific region based on shared war memories and a mutually grounded antipathy towards Japan. The transformation of the Nanjing Massacre into a national heritage allows the event to operate as a form of ‘soft power’ to fulfil diplomatic goals in the Asia-Pacific region. By examining the social discourse of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, this paper explores how the Chinese state (re)interprets and represents war memories through heritage making, and investigates their cultural and political roles in nation building. Moving beyond the existing literature on the Nanjing Massacre, which focuses on the event in the context of Sino-Japan relations, the study contributes to our understanding of the contested, plural, and dynamic nature of social memories in China’s nation formation in the context of the burgeoning global era.

Dr Yujie Zhu is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University. His research focuses on cultural heritage, particularly in relation to politics, social memory, cultural tourism and religious practices. He is the author of Heritage and Romantic Consumption in China (Amsterdam University Press 2018), Heritage Politics in China (Routledge 2020; co-authored), and the co-editor of Politics of Scale (Berghahn Books 2018) and Sustainable Tourism Management at World Heritage Sites (UNWTO 2009). He has published more than thirty articles in leading anthropology, tourism, and heritage journals, including American Anthropologist, Annals of Tourism Research, and International Journal of Heritage Studies. He is vice president of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Justin ZOBEL Cleric, critic, broadcaster, academic: Reflections on Dunera boy Werner Pelz
Werner Pelz, who had spent his childhood in Berlin, was one of the younger internees of the Hay and Tatura camps. By temperament an intellectual with a passion for philosophy and socialism, but having had no opportunity to undertake tertiary studies, he was a keen student at the camp ‘university’ where he acquired learnings and skills that shaped the remainder of his life. Habitually independent in thought, after returning to England he became an Anglican vicar, then a writer of newspaper articles and books, a recurrent figure on British television, and finally a sociologist. This paper by his stepson, who knew Werner from the 1960s, is a reflection on Werner’s development and how his character links these very different careers.

Justin Zobel is a computer science academic. The child of a German Jewish refugee and a Welsh mother, he was born in England but migrated to Australia with his stepfather, mother, and siblings in the early 1970s. A beneficiary (or perhaps survivor) of an anarchic post-modern Judeo-Christian-Marxist-Freudian upbringing, he is now a professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Melbourne, best known as a researcher for his contribution to the early development of search engines and as an educator for his promotion of quality and method in research.

Seumus Spark, Monash University

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