Vietnamese boat people
What a nation we have become if this poll truly reflects the people of Australia! It also proves that we do not learn from our history and are condemned to repeat it - and that, in itself, is a form of hell. Arguably, the classic tale of boat people is told in the story of the Dunera boys - German Jews escaping from Germany to Britain to escape the Holocaust. Britain turned up their nose at them treating them as suspects and possible Nazi spies! They shipped them off to Australia and we, too, turned our nose up at them and put them in an interment camps - what would now be called a detention centre. The story is a marvellous one and was turned in to a mini-series which can be seen on YouTube.
From this group of harshly treated men, came some very distinguished Australians who have done great service to this country. The one that always spring to my mind is Fred Gruen who went from being a despised refugee to a Dunera Boy and on to become one of Australia's great economists and public servants. Similarly, his son - Nicholas Gruen - serves us to-day. Similarly, the Vietnamese boat arrivals have settled well into this country and some significant contributions have been made. I believe that in the decades to come we will still be telling these sorts of stories. The adage seems to be true - those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it!!!
Among the transportees on the Dunera were Franz Stampfl, later the athletics coach to the four-minute-mile runner Roger Bannister, Wolf Klaphake, the inventor of synthetic camphor, the tenor Erich Liffmann, composer Ray Martin (orchestra leader), artists Heinz Henghes, Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack and Erwin Fabian, art historians Franz Phillipp and Ernst Kitzinger, artist Johannes Koelz, the photographers Henry Talbot and Hans Axel, and furniture designers Fred Lowen and Ernst Roedeck. Also on board were theoretical physicist Hans Buchdahl and his engineer (later philosopher) brother Gerd; Alexander Gordon (Abrascha Gorbulski) who appeared in the documentary Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport and Walter Freud grandson of Sigmund Freud.
Malcolm Fraser - Vietnamese refugees were a boon not a burden