A Redeemer Cometh: The Survivor in the Space

  • Avril Alba
Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)


In her speech at the opening of the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM), Holocaust survivor and then President of the Australian Association for Jewish Holocaust Survivors (AAJHS), Marika Weinberger, explicitly referenced Isaiah 51:1 as the ‘motivating spirit guiding the architects, curators, designers and our planning committee in establishing the terms of reference, guidelines, blueprints and, at times, in deciding even minute details of this unique museum’.2 Just how influential this directive was in the actual development of the SJM’s exhibition and memorial spaces is impossible to determine, but its significance regarding the museum founders’ understanding of their task is readily apparent. For this was to be a museum in which Jewish tradition would be modified and reinterpreted by those who understood themselves to be simultaneously the product of, and the exception to, the tradition itself. Against this backdrop the story of destruction would be told from the perspective of those who had endured it. In the telling, the figure of the survivor would emerge as the SJM’s ‘authentic voice’, the voice of both the witness and the victim, an embodied testament to the ‘living and the dead’.3


Asylum Seeker Jewish Community Jewish History Holocaust Survivor Jewish Tradition 
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Copyright information

© Avril Alba 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avril Alba
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneyAustralia

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