Club Meeting July 17 2019 March of the Living


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Faye was our chairperson last week. We were very glad to be back “home” at Cilantro, with Sossi and Tony serving us coffee. It was a very cold winter’s morning and we were a full house in fine noisy, happy form that Sergeant Tim had difficulty in gaining our attention! Faye invited Margaret M to give us Invocation and Paul to present the Loyal Royal Toast. We had Barry (Zilla’s Partner), Ruth (Tony Grusd’s Wife) Mark Shapiro, Friend of Tony and Ruth, and Graeme Callen, friend of Geoff Gartly visit us for this morning’s meeting. Grant took us to Croatia for the International Club toast. Croatia is a country in Central Europe on the Adriatic Sea and borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro. There is an exclave separated short coastline belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina around Neum. The capital is Zagreb. The area is 56,594 square kilometers and has a population of 4.28 million. The Rotary Club of Zadar belongs to District 1913and is one of the few Districts that cover an entire country. It was created in 2011 with a ceremony held at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on June 18th. There are 52 clubs with 1700 members! Talking of Croatia there are Neanderthal remains dating back to 130,000YA and modern humans arrived about 6,000BC. Roman occupation began leading to the province of Dalmatia in 9AD and 650AD Croats arrived, possibly from southern Poland. The Kingdom of Croatia was established in 925 reaching its maximum size in1097 after which it became part of the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1652 most of the kingdom was lost to the Ottomans (Bosnia) with the remainder held by the Habsburg Empire and then in 1878 became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918 the country became part of Yugoslavia.  After WWll Yugoslavia was part of the Communist Bloc and following the collapse of communism 25/06/1991 Croatia declared Independence from Yugoslavia. Zadar is the oldest continuously-inhabited Croatian city and the 5th largest by population of 71,500 and is situated by the sea. The origin in 9th C BC by an Illyrian tribe, the Liburnians and the town known as Iader became Zadar in the 12th C. The industries are: Tourism, Trade, Agriculture, Fishing and Fish Farming. It is also the source of Marasca cherries with distilleries in Zadar producing Maraschino liqueur since the 16th century. Grant asked us to be upstanding to Toast President Davor Dobrovic and the members of the Rotary Club of Zadar, Republic of Croatia. The club has 23 members and have various projects such as Demining of the Zadar hinterland and of Velebit, buying instruments for the Blagoje Bers Music School, providing a library in a Zadar primary school, Funds for assisting medical treatment, Organ Repair in a Benedictine Monastery and the establishment of a centre for studying marine mammals. The club meets at Hotel Nico on Mondays at 8:00 pm. Thank you Grant for yet another amazing presentation for an International Club and allowing us to learn about another European country.
Pres. Geoff Welcomed us and our guests and mentioned how good it was to have such a full house. He informed us that we received Thank You letters from SES Moorabbin, and Disaster Aid, saying that it is nice to be acknowledged for our work. He continued by praising the committees which are u and running and by reminding us that the market is the “lynch pin” of all our activities the fact we need to get it “right”.  He also mentioned that he is getting together with a couple of Councillors from Glen Eira as a courtesy as our market is in that area. Pres. Geoff called Glenda to the rostrum to tell her that the club was very pleased to have her back as a full member instead as an Honorary Member. He reminded us of the Welcome Function for Clemence at Cilantro on 22nd August and advised us of an up and coming function with the Rotary Club of Ballarat. More information will be sent to us. Our speaker was our member Tony Grusd who thanked us for the opportunity to talk of the “March of the Living” in which he and his wife Ruth were able to participate. So What is the March of the Living? “The International March of the Living is an annual educational program, bringing individuals from around the word to Poland and Israel to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance hatred. The March of the Living serves as a hopeful counterpoint to the experience of millions of Jews and others who were forced by the Nazis to cross vast expanses of European terrain under the harshest of conditions and where most perished. Since its inception in 1988, more than 260,000 alumni from 52 countries have marched the same 3-kilometer path from Auschwitz to Birkenau on Holocaust Remembrance Day as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust”. Tony added to this writing re the March that the sad outcome and disbelief, the enormity of the crime against humanity is part of the catastrophic Holocaust and the attempt to the extermination of a race. He showed photos of the train line that came from far-off places in Europe and finished at Auschwitz and the sign that was over the entrance that read “Arbeit Macht Frei” which tricked the people in believing that Jews were going to work. However, arriving at Auschwitz the soldiers made choices of to live or die immediately. He showed photos of the ovens and the crematorium where the bodies were burnt, Photos that showed the bed-bunks that held 10 in a bed. The Jews were pushed into cattle carts without light, water, room for ablutions so many died even before arriving in Auschwitz. One of the fellow travelers was “Jack” a Holocaust survivor, who was 13 years old when he got to Auschwitz and the last words from his father was not to trust anybody and not to talk. This piece of advice he kept even up to this very day and he felt that was why he survived. Tony showed many photographs of what he and Ruth had seen. The worst they felt was looking at 100s and 1000s of children’s shoes and suitcases that had been raided of belongings, human hair in containers that were to be used to stuff mattresses! He showed a photo of the intact Majdanek Camp. He talked of the camps that now serve as museums and of Schindler’s factory which Schindler had used to save as many lives as he could. Tony told us that all of this and more, serves to tell us that NEVER AGAIN! LEST WE FORGET One shining photograph amongst all of the horror was a photograph of the most beautiful Krakow   Synagogue which remains intact with other amazing building as Krakow was not bombed because of its beauty. How contradictory is that? “The enormity is that so much time was spent on the effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe!” This talk was amazing and I would say that some of us found it hard to bear and tears were close. At another time it would be good to share the trip to Israel and see for ourselves through Ruth and Tony’s experiences there, and how their memorials to the world are displayed. Touching moments are shared when all the names are displayed on walls for all to see and even more emotional is it when one finds the name of a deceased family member. Thank you Tony for sharing and for giving us a most visual and valuable learning experience. Back to our reality and Sergeant Tim found ways of fining us and reminded us that the man walked on the moon 50 years ago. This prompted Faye and Zilla to share the birth of their children around this time. Faye had a boy and Zilla had the arrival of a girl. Good and happy memories. Sergeant Tim on being asked about  last year’s fines he advised us that they went to the Farmers Drought Charity and this year he is choosing to support the Fred Hollows Foundation. It makes our being fined well worthwhile.  Pres Geoff in closing the meeting wished us a good week and to remember ROTARY CONNECTS THE WORLD Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)

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