The Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides, which resulted in the loss of over 1.5 million lives, will be the focus of this month‘s NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum.
In a conversation titled “Learning from the Holocaust: Why countries should recognise the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides”, the community will hear from Holocaust survivor Eddy Boas, Assyrian activist and lawyer Suzy David and Member for Berowra Julian Leeser MP.
While neither Australia nor Israel has recognised these genocides, New South Wales did so in 2013. Moved by Christian Democratic MP Reverend Fred Nile, a motion was passed unanimously by the NSW Legislative Council “condemning the genocides of the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of intolerance.”
South Australia was the first legislative body in the world to recognise the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides, in 2009, in a motion introduced by Attorney-General Michael Atkinson MP. In addition to South Australia and New South Wales, 30 nations have recognised the Armenian genocide, in which approximately one million Armenians were rounded up on 24 April, 1915 by Turkish authorities and subsequently perished.
The main addresses at the plenum will be delivered by Eddy Boas and Suzy David, with a message from Julian Leeser MP. Born in The Hague in 1940, Mr Boas suffered a devastating first few years of life, including surviving the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the Lost Train. Arriving in Australia in 1948, he carved out a successful life and in 2017 published his autobiography, I’m Not A Victim, I Am A Survivor.
Born in Iran, Ms David arrived in Australia with her parents in 1970. Currently a partner at the law firm which she established with her brother, she has represented Assyrian voices at United Nations events and is a board member on national and international Assyrian organisations.
Mr Leeser has become a prominent voice in the call for recognition of the Armenian genocide. “The world has been too slow to recognise and call out the Armenian genocide,” he said in a 2018 debate. “It’s time every nation, including our own, recognised the Armenian genocide. It’s time the Erdogan regime in Turkey owned up to their history.”
To be held on Tuesday 20 April at 7:30pm, the plenum will be held both in-person and online. Registrations are required: https://www.nswjbd.org/events/learning-from-the-holocaust/
The countries which have recognised the Armenian genocide are: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Lithuania, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela, and The Holy See.