The protest, penned by the Australian Aboriginal League, was delivered to Berlin this month by Victorian Yorta Yorta Aboriginal elder Alfred Turner, after the German consul-general in Melbourne refused to accept the letter on Tuesday, December 6, 1938.
Turner’s grandfather William Cooper had led some 60 league members and supporters on a 10km march from his Footscray home to the consular office in Collins St, for an 11.30am meeting with German consul Walther Drechsler.
Drechsler refused to meet them and security guards locked the office doors. The letter, organised by Cooper as head of the Australian Aboriginal League, is recognised by Israel’s Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre as the only public protest by a private person or organisation against the Kristallnacht destruction over November 9 and 10, 1938.
A replica of the petition is exhibited at the Sydney Jewish Museum.
In NSW, the Dubbo branch of the Aborigines Progressive Association sent telegrams to support the league’s protest against “the treatment of the Jews by the Nazi government”.
Read the article by Marea Donnelly in The Daily Telegraph.