House debates

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Statements by Members

Fabian, Mr Erwin

1:33 pm

Photo of Luke GoslingLuke Gosling (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On 19 January this year, we lost an icon, an elder statesman of the Australian arts, veteran and Jewish communities, Erwin Fabian, who passed away at 104 years of age. What an innings! Erwin was born in Berlin in 1915, the son of distinguished Impressionist painter Max Fabian. By the time he was 10, he had lost his father. By the time he was 22, he had lost his homeland. By the time he was 25, he had lost his freedom. But Erwin made it to England, where he was deported on the well-known ship the Dunera. The Dunera brought to Australia many German and Austrian Jewish who were fleeing the Nazis. Despite some poor treatment on the Dunera, many members of that voyage went on to make amazing, massive cultural, academic and economic contributions to Australia. An example of this is the father of the current Australian Statistician, David Gruen. David's father was the respected economist Fred Gruen. He came over on the Dunera as well. When Erwin Fabian arrived in Australia, he was interned in a camp in Hay, New South Wales. He was later released and allowed to join the Australian Army, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. At 104, he was Australia's—if not the world's—oldest practising veteran artist. Vale Erwin Fabian. (Time expired)