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Survivor Stories

The Lefmann Gallery currently features a biographical display about six Holocaust survivors who migrated to Adelaide after World War 2.  This was funded by the History Trust of South Australia through their South Australian History Fund. Visitors can also follow the personal experiences of these six survivors in the permanent exhibition in the Anne Frank Gallery.

More stories of Holocaust survivors who made South Australia their home are being researched and an exhibition is in development for this gallery space.

This gallery is dedicated to Peter Lefmann’s grandparents who perished during the Holocaust.  In 1941, Leopold and Frieda Lefmann, aged in their sixties, were among those transported from Köln (Cologne) in Germany to Litzmannstadt or Łódź ghetto in Poland.  Their hometown was Remscheid, about 50km north of Köln (Cologne). It is not known the exact date or place of their murder.

Photographer: Meg Hansen

Andrew Steiner OAM (born 1933)

Since 1990, Andrew has provided education about the Holocaust to secondary and tertiary students. The Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Andrew Steiner Education Centre in 2020 is the culmination of Andrew’s life work towards a fairer, more just, and compassionate world.

Andrew was born in Budapest in 1933 into a patriotic Jewish family who had lived in Hungary for generations. Following the occupation of Hungary by Nazi Germany in 1944, he spent most of his childhood in hiding, along with his sister and parents. Andrew’s family migrated to Adelaide in 1948. Twelve members of his extended family perished in the Holocaust.

Photographer: Meg Hansen

Eva Temple (born 1944)

‘I owe my life and survival to a very brave, courageous, and special lady – my grandmother. I really hope that she knew that I had been saved because she obviously gave up everything to look after me, to save me.’

Eva Temple migrated to South Australia from the UK in the 1960s as a ‘Ten Pound Pom’. She is one of the youngest Holocaust survivors in Australia and possibly the youngest survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Eva speaks to students about her life and experiences as a Holocaust survivor as part of our museum education program.

Born Eva Bader in 1944 in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, then occupied German territory, here Jewish parents were deported when Eva was just a baby.  She remained hidden in a secret room by her grandmother until they were both discovered and sent to Bergen Belsen. Eva was found in her grandmother’s dying arms on liberation, 15 April 1945. Despite severe malnourishment, Eva survived and was eventually adopted by an uncle in England.

Photographer: Meg Hansen

John Hirschfeld (1920-2020)

John met his future wife in a Swiss refugee camp at the end of the war and they emigrated to South Australia where they raised four children.

Born Joachim Hirschfeld in 1920 in the German city of Halle, John’s schooldays were traumatic as a Jewish boy under the Nazi regime. At 18 John fled to the Netherlands and worked on an agricultural camp with other Jewish young people. Twice he dodged deportation to concentration camps before making a daring escape across Europe, on foot, and by train, finally crossing the border to Switzerland and safety.

John turned 100 on 9 April 2020. Despite the COVID pandemic, he overcame adversity yet again, having socially distant celebrations with his Adelaide-based family at his nursing home.  He passed away 3 weeks later.

Photographer: Meg Hansen

Regina Zielinski (1925-2014)

Regina emigrated to Australia with her family in 1949, making her life in Sydney and Adelaide and regularly speaking to school students about her wartime experiences.

Born Riwka Feldman in 1925 in the Polish town of Siedliszcze, Regina left school because she was Jewish following Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.  Slave labourers and forced to move into the local Jewish ghetto, she and her family were deported to Sobibor death camp in 1942.  Here 17-year-old Regina was spared the gas chambers, knitting socks for German soldiers but she never saw her parents, brother, or sister again.  Regina escaped during the 1943 Sobibor uprising and survived the war with false identity papers, working for a German family, living ‘in plain sight’ as a Catholic Polish woman.

Regina died in 2014, shortly after being presented with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for her bravery and heroism during the Sobibor uprising and for outstanding merit in activities for the remembrance and popularisation of the knowledge of the Holocaust.

Photographer: Andrew Harris

Fred Steiner (1928-2016)

Fred emigrated to Adelaide in 1950 to join his mother who was the only member of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust. Here he married and brought up three children and was involved with the South Australian Jewish community, giving talks to many high school students about his experience. He later moved to Melbourne and was a regular guide at the Jewish Holocaust Centre.

Born Alfred Steiner in 1928 in Košice, Slovakia, Fred grew up on the dairy farm of his Yiddish-speaking, strict Orthodox Jewish grandfather. When the town came under Hungarian and then Nazi German control in 1944, the Steiner family were sent to the local Jewish ghetto before being deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. 15-year-old Fred was spared death and sent to work with the SS officers’ horses, but his sister, cousins, grandparents, uncle, and aunt were all murdered. He survived a death march, two more concentration camps, and years recovering from serious illness after liberation. 

Photographer: Unknown

Garry Rogers (1923-2016)

Garry migrated to South Australia from the UK with his family in 1964. He changed his name to Garry Rogers as an adult when he joined the British Army.  In 1945 his regiment entered the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen where he witnessed what he had escaped due to the sacrifice of his parents and the humanity of Great Britain in allowing thousands of Jewish children from Europe to find a home amongst compassionate strangers.

Born Guenther Joachim Baumgart into a Jewish family in 1923 in Breslau, East Germany, (now Wrocław, Poland) 15-year-old Garry left Germany for Great Britain as part of the Kindertransport (Children’s Transport). He was one of the 10,000 refugee Jewish children under the age of 17 that the British government agreed to accept as temporary residents.  He never saw his parents again. Garry’s grandparents, uncles, and aunts also all perished in the Holocaust.

The Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Andrew Steiner Education Centre acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation, past, present and future, and the continuation of cultural, spiritual, and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. AHMSEC stands on Kaurna land.

© 2021 Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Andrew Steiner Education Centre