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Australian Parliamentarian, Jewish Leader Dies at 85

Syd, Einfeld, the man credited with changing Australia’s immigration policy to provide a refuge for Holocaust survivors, died last Friday in Sydney.

Einfeld, who died one day before his 86th birthday, was named for the city of his birth, but was known popularly as “straight-shooting Syd.”

Einfeld served in both the federal and state parliaments, representing the Australian Labor Party. He also is recognized as the pioneer of consumer affairs legislation in Australia.

He was active in the Jewish community as well, serving four terms as president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and 10 years as president of the Federation of Australian Jewish Welfare Societies. He helped establish the ECAJ, formed to unite diverse lobbying activities conducted by Jewish groups.

Current ECAJ President Isi Leibler described Einfeld as “one of the great leaders of Australian Jewry.”

“Syd Einfeld was recognized internationally as one of the world’s leading Jewish personalities and served as a role model for Jews not just of his generation, but of all generations to come,” Leibler also said.

Immediately after World War II, Einfeld actively campaigned for Australia to accept Jewish immigrants who had survived the Holocaust.

When the Australian government informed him that it had agreed to accept Holocaust survivors as part of its post-war immigration program, but that there no staff was available to process applications, Einfeld volunteered his services and those of the Jewish community to process the tens of thousands of applications that had been lodged.

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