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We Are Our Memories-bookcover

By: Frank Vajda

We Are Our Memories

Pages: 190 Ratings: 4.0
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We Are Our Memories is a series of vignettes related to events, people and opinions from a recollection of many decades. Having been involved in periods of major distressing episodes as well as joyful ones, the author has been fortunate to meet and contact some historical figures and campaigned ceaselessly for many decades to honour the Righteous Gentiles, the salt of the Earth who saved their fellow citizen at the risk of their own lives. He pays tributes to rescuers. Reports on nazi crimes from an unusual vantage point are communicated by a former appointed functionary. He recalls teachers, colleagues and books that have shaped his life and motivated him not to remain silent. He recalls liberation by the Red Army from the terrors of nazi tyranny and pays tribute to Australia, which he embraced passionately. He has been honoured by Sweden, by the Royal Order of the Polar Star and he has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018.

Frank Vajda survived the Holocaust aged 9, escaped from Hungary, studied medicine in Australia and UK, devoted 40 years to keeping the memory of Wallenberg alive, besides his medical career. Instrumental in bringing about the Honorary Citizenship for the Swedish Humanitarian, who saved his life in 1944.

Consultant Neurologist, Professorial Fellow University of Melbourne, Adjunct Professor at Monash, Director of the Australian Pregnancy Register of Antiepileptic Drugs, Past President of Epilepsy Society of Australia, International Ambassador for Epilepsy, Member of International Pregnancy Register Board, Head of Free Wallenberg Australian Committee, Founder of Raoul Wallenberg Centre of Clinical Neuropharmacology. Awarded the Officer of the Polar Star (Sweden) and Officer of the Order of Australia.

Customer Reviews
1 reviews
1 reviews
  • Tom Leimdorfer

    We are our memories
    Frank Vajda
    It is impossible not be both disturbed and inspired by Frank Vajda’s latest book. It is a remarkable collage of Holocaust experiences and perspectives. It is a feat of historical research interwoven with accounts of people who have entrusted their stories and journeys to the author. In between, there are key chapters of Frank’s life story, his thoughts and aspects of his personal experience from a childhood Holocaust survivor to his eminent medical career in Australia.
    Frank gives central place to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg who saved his life amongst that of countless others during the darkest horrors in the autumn of 1944 when no Jew was safe from the atrocities of the Hungarian Arrow Cross working with the German SS. By then, over four hundred thousand Jews had been deported to Auschwitz from the provinces and most murdered in the gas chambers. Frank gives accounts of heroic survival such as the story of Olga, a Jewess from Slovakia, who took great risks to use her position of responsibility amongst her fellow prisoners to save as many as she could, to improve their conditions and chances of survival. A contrasting chapter relates to a controversial eminent Jewish figure who saved a trainload of ‘influential’ Jewish families at the price of collaborating with Adolf Eichmann. Beyond the financial payment to the Nazis, he played a part in ensuring that the realities of concentration camps were kept from deportees and hence reducing the chances of resistance.
    The author does not shy away from making judgements about the role played by politicians and religious figures who stood by while Hitler’s ‘final solution’ was being executed by his henchmen. At the same time, he throws light on several ‘righteous gentiles’ who risked their own lives to save others. It is not an easy read for those of us who share the same history with some overlapping family losses. One needs to go back to individual chapters and stories, valuing each separately. It is a complex tapestry, a treasure trove of interrelated lives, an affirmation of the triumph of the human spirit and sacrifice in the midst of greatest evil.

    Tom Leimdorfer

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