SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Descendants of an Aboriginal elder who staged a unique protest against the Nazis in 1938 re-enacted his famous march to the German consulate in Melbourne.
William Cooper, an elder of the Yorta Yorta tribe, led a delegation to the German Consulate in December 1938 to protest the "cruel persecution" of the Jews. He was denied entry to the consulate.
But on Dec. 6, Cooper’s grandson, Alf "Boydie" Turner, 84, and about a dozen family members, along with Holocaust survivors and other supporters, re-enacted the march 74 years to the day and handed over a copy of the petition.
“We plead that you would make it known to your government and its military leaders that this cruel persecution of their fellow citizens must be brought to an end,” the petition said.
Michael Pearce, the current German honorary consul, told ABC Radio: “It’s been an opportunity to right a wrong from the past. Seventy-four years ago the then-German consul should have accepted this letter and this resolution.”
At the time of the protest, Aboriginal Australians were discriminated against under the White Australia policy, and it wasn’t until 1967 that they were recognized as Australian citizens with the right to vote.