Holocaust survivor ‘suffering flashbacks’ after Nazi flag flown metres away from his Australian home

Rural community of Beulah expressed outrage after extremist sought to fly a swastika in his garden


A Nazi flag flying in rural Australia close to a Holocaust survivor’s home has been removed following a joint push by neighbours, local police and a Jewish MP.

Cheryl Lawdron told local media that she had German ancestry and had the right to fly the banner on her property in Beulah, a country town four hours away from Melbourne.

The flag featured a black swastika in a white circle in the centre and was divided into four red rectangles, each of which contained German military symbols associated with Nazism such as the Iron Cross.

Locals in the town, which has a population of less than 400, condemned the flag but were initially powerless to stop it because displaying Nazi symbols is not illegal under Australian law.

Australia’s Nine television network reported Ms Lawdron and her partner, named as Bill, had moved into the neighbourhood only a year ago.

It has since emerged an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor, who lives just a few metres away from the Lawdron residence, has been suffering constant flashbacks since the flag was erected and was too afraid to leave his home.

“He’s still got the tattoo on his arm from being in the concentration camp. Both his parents were gassed, he was next,” one neighbour told Nine.

Another added: “He’s quite upset. He wants to be left alone. He’s made a statement to the police. He doesn’t want any trouble with anybody.”

David Southwick, a Jewish MP for the Liberal party in the southern state of Victoria, contacted the local municipal council, local police and residents to assist in coordinating efforts to have the flag removed.

It was eventually taken down on Tuesday evening.

Bill and Cheryl Lawdron then “packed up the trailer and skipped town”, Nine reported.

The couple will not face any charges because no laws were broken.

Mr Southwick told the JC: “Having a Nazi flag displayed in a small fruit farming country town that has people from different multicultural backgrounds including Jewish and Muslim shows that nobody is safe from this hate.

“It was largely the great work of the local council and local police that did it. I had discussions with a number of locals as well who all were angered. I am sure the broader media on this putting the issue out there also helped.”

He added that Daniel Andrews, Victoria’s premier, needed to introduce stronger laws to stamp out the public display of the swastika in the state.

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