QLD’s First Holocaust Museum and Education Centre Opens

Did you know that Brisbane’s Cathedral Precinct is now home to QLD’s first Holocaust Museum and Education Centre? The museum shares the personal stories of Queenslanders who endured the horrors of the Holocaust.

The Queensland Holocaust Museum and Education Centre features narratives from local Holocaust survivors and their families, alongside tributes to non-Jewish individuals recognised as “Righteous Among the Nations” for their courageous acts of saving Jewish lives.

Out of the 27,000 Holocaust survivors who migrated to Australia after World War II, around 200 settled in Queensland. Their first-hand testimonies, captured on film, will be available for viewing in the museum.  

Photo Credit: Facebook / The Catholic Leader

Situated within the Cathedral Church of St Stephen’s grounds, it symbolises an inter-religious partnership with the Catholic Church.

Catholic Archbishop Mark Coleridge acknowledged the collaborative efforts of religious groups, government bodies, and the wider community. He underscored the importance of building bridges, choosing peace over violence, and promoting unity among all people.

“As a society, we need to work together towards a common goal that overcomes hatred and promotes peace. We need to build bridges, not walls,” the Archbishop said.

“Inter-religious partnerships like this send a strong signal to the community that we are all sisters and brothers in a world where the other is not my enemy.”

Photo Credit: The Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane / cathedralofststephen.org.au

Jason Steinberg, the chair of the Queensland Holocaust Museum and Education Centre, emphasised the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust. 

He also described the museum as a multifaceted and engaging platform, presenting the Holocaust’s narrative through the voices, stories, and artefacts of Queensland survivors.

Photo Credit: Facebook / The Catholic Leader

Steinberg also highlighted that anti-Semitism, which led to the deaths of millions of European Jews during World War II, continues to persist, even in Queensland. Shockingly, up to 60 per cent of Queensland Jews have reported experiencing acts of anti-Semitism in various aspects of their lives.

To ensure accessibility, an online museum will be launched soon, and a mobile facility is being developed to travel across the state, providing valuable resources to all Queenslanders.

The Queensland Holocaust Museum and Education Centre aims to leave a lasting legacy, inspiring individuals to stand against racism and prejudice in any form.

The opening ceremony was attended by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Chair of the Queensland Holocaust Museum and Education Centre Jason Steinberg, and Holocaust survivors from Queensland. 

Ms Palaszczuk was also the one who made the initial announcement launching the project in 2022.

Funding for the museum and education centre was made possible through a $3.5-million contribution from the state government. The contribution will be matched by the federal government and Brisbane City Council has also pledged $500,000. 

This significant endeavour follows the recent implementation of Hate Crimes legislation, which bans the display of hate symbols associated with Nazi ideology. The legislation also imposes stricter penalties for offences driven by hatred or serious contempt, including existing serious vilification offences.

Published 7-July-2023