Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Dunera Boys and how Nicholas Gruen made my day on Facebook.

I had a most heart-warming experience on Facebook yesterday.  The original post is heart-rending if you go to the link and listen to the testimony of this particular woman and what she faced as a girl in state care in NSW.  She was imprisoned at Hay.  As well as re-posting the original post in the hope that people would become more aware of what has happened to this nation's children in the past, I asked the question if the prison at Hay could be the same place that the Dunera Boys were sent to in 1940.  

I often cite the Dunera Boys when speaking of the way refugees and asylum seekers have been treated by successive Australian Governments since the 1990s. Australian Governments and large sections of the Australian population have shown across decades that they dislike receiving people fleeing from all manner of hardship and life-threatening situations.  

The Dunera Boys were people who had sought refuge in England from the vicissitudes of Hitler's Europe.  They were a mixed bunch. Many of them were Jewish. Many of them were well educated.  Australia finished up being well blessed by those who came on the HMT Dunera when eventually the evacuees were settled into the broad Australian society and made lives for themselves.

Portrait of Fred Gruen
Erwin Fabian, like Fred,
is a 'Dunera Boy'.

I always cite Fred Gruen. Fred Gruen became a great and influential economist.  His son Nicholas Gruen, is one of Australia's leading health economists. The blessing continues.

....and so it was that when I was sounding off once again on Facebook and did the usual mention of the Gruens - Nicholas himself entered the conversation and inserted links to material he had written about his father.  

For me, this was yet another warm social blessing brought about by social media.
Thank you, Nicholas Gruen for making my day.
Cruelty, exploitation and hardship was not only the province of Christian organisations - as this recording makes clear.
Eileen MacLean · Friends with Vicki Jones
What an awful story!
UnlikeReply114 hrs
Brigid O'Carroll Walsh And all when so many of us were sleeping comfortably in our beds. I was wondering. Have you ever read the story of the Dunera boys. They were men that Churchill shipped to Australia not long before WW11 ended. Europeans (including Jews) who had escaped to England. As the Nazis got closer to the English Channel, Churchill got twitchy in case there were any enemy aliens in the refugees. So we got a share of them. They were sent to a detention camp out back of Hay and I wondered if this facility was the same place or a different one. As for the Dunera boys, Australia scored one of best economists, FredGruen, was a Dunera Boy and his son,Nicholas Gruen, is a leading health economist. Wonder what we might be missing out on as we turn back the boats.
LikeReply14 hrs
Eileen MacLean · Friends with Vicki Jones
I haven't heard of the 'Duneral boys', interesting to read your post.
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Nicholas Gruen Thanks Brigid. I wrote about Dad and the Dunera when sponsoring some Hazara kids on TPVs on a soccer around NSW and Queensland here. and here
Fighting them on the beaches - and in the detention camps *
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Brigid O'Carroll Walsh Eileen, here's a whole pile of links you can explore re the Dunera Boys. It makes interesting reading. Our govt wasn't all that keen on having them ... and we find echoes of that with refugees and asylum seekers to-day.
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Brigid O'Carroll Walsh Nicholas Gruen Thank you for your response, Nicholas. I use the example of the Dunera boys and their treatment by a government which, even historically, has great respect. I tell people that our govt wasn't keen on them coming here, but Churchill had sent them. And more than 70 years later and quite a few influxes of refugees since, it seems we are still not keen on receiving those seeking protection.
LikeReply13 hrsEdited
Nicholas Gruen Yep, goes on and on. As I mention in my post, I expected the Hazara kids to be different to the Jews of the Dunera. I expected them to be of 'peasant stock' (not that there's anything wrong with that). But something about Hazara culture (about which I...See more
LikeReply13 hrs
Eileen MacLean ''Dunera boys' sorry, Facebook corrected my typing and I didn't notice it.Thank you for your second post, I will explore further.
LikeReply13 hrs

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