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Holocaust Survivor’s Memoir Wins Australian Literary Prize

The 1996 Banjo Award, Australia’s most prestigious prize for non-fiction writing, has been awarded to an Auschwitz survivor for his self-published memoir.

Abraham Biderman, who now lives in Melbourne, wrote his memoir, “The World of My Past,” to fulfill his parents’ dying wish that he “remember what they did to us. Tell what they did.”

He remembers his mother calling this message out to him as his parents were dragged away from him by a guard at Auschwitz.

Despite receiving high praise from reviewers, Biderman could not find an Australian publisher for his work, as he was repeatedly told that “there are too many books about the Holocaust.” He then decided to publish the book himself.

Biderman’s view is that a Christian world which had as its base “a theology of hatred towards Jews” was at the core of the Holocaust.

Recounting in his memoir his life in the Lodz ghetto and four concentration camps, Biderman argues that Christian teaching not only created the possibility for mass murder but contributed to the atmosphere which meant that there was simply “nowhere to run.”

On receiving the award from the National Book Council, he said those who hate Jews, as well as other minorities such as Aborigines, gypsies and blacks, also hate “God, because we are also his creations.”

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