During the four years Abram Goldberg was incarcerated in a Nazi-run ghetto during World War II he made a potent promise to himself. If he survived the ordeal, which claimed the lives six million Jews - including his parents - he would dedicate his life to fighting injustice, racism and anti-Semitism.
Since he emigrated to Melbourne in 1951, Mr Goldberg has spent more than 7000 hours volunteering at the Jewish Holocaust Centre, guiding visitors and students through museum exhibits and telling them of his experiences.
The Jewish Holocaust Centre is concerned the ravages of time are taking a toll on irreplaceable historical documents.
The Elsternwick centre needs “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to preserve some of the deteriorating artefacts, mainly paperwork but also some textiles, art and photographs donated by Holocaust survivors.
The Centre’s first function in 2011 was held on 27 January - United Nations Holocaust Memorial Day (UNHMD) – attended by about 300 people from the Jewish and wider communities. The brief commemoration, held at the Glen Eira Town Hall, featured The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP as the keynote speaker. In an eloquent and well-structured address, Mr Dreyfus, a second-generation Holocaust survivor, called upon the federal government, in which he serves as Cabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, to be a signatory to the international task force which accords official recognition to UNHMD.
The Jewish Holocaust Centre’s new museum opened in March 2010. The upgrade has been designed to update the method of delivery of the information to appeal to the younger generation, who make up the bulk of visitors, while retaining the musuem’s special ingredient – the opportunity to interact with survivor guides.