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Protest against Nazi Germany delivered 74 years late

    A man clears up broken class after the events of Kristallnacht. (Photo: AP)
    A man clears up broken class after the events of Kristallnacht. (Photo: AP)

    A petition against the Nazis’ “cruel treatment” of the Jews has finally been delivered to the German consulate in Australia – 74 years after it was meant to be presented.

    William Cooper, a human rights activist and leader of the Aboriginal Yorta Yorta tribe, had prepared a petition denouncing Nazi persecution of German Jews and attempted to deliver it to the country’s mission in Melbourne just weeks after the events of Kristallnacht. He was denied entry and the complaint was never presented.

    The complaint, prepared on behalf of the Australian Aboriginal League, reads:

    “On behalf of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, we wish to have it registered and on record that we protest wholeheartedly at the cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government in Germany.

    “We plead that you would make it known to your government and its military leaders that this cruel persecution of their fellow citizens must be brought to an end.”

    “The German consul should have accepted this letter and this resolution [74 years ago]”

    Seventy-four years later to the day, Cooper’s 84-year-old grandson, Alf “Boydie” Turner, was able to complete the mission.

    Mr Turner presented the original petition on December 6 2012 to the honorary consul-general of Germany in Melbourne in the presence of relatives, friends, Holocaust survivors, and other leaders of the Jewish community.

    In a marked change from 1938, honorary consul-general Michael Pearce SC welcomed the petition. In an interview with ABC News programme PM, Mr Pearce said that he felt that he had been given an opportunity to right a wrong.

    “The German consul should have accepted this letter and this resolution [74 years ago]”, Mr Pearce said.

    Yad Vashem honoured Mr Cooper when it was discovered that his was the only private protest against the events of Kristallnacht. A small garden will be created in Mr Cooper’s honour.

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