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Leo and Mina Fink

For the Greater Good

Margaret Taft



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Monash University Publishing
01 February 2022
During the darkest days of the Holocaust, Europe's Jews faced annihilation. In faraway Melbourne, immigrants Leo and Mina Fink rallied to rescue the survivors. It was a massive task. Undaunted, they battled bureaucrats, public opinion and at times the Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell. Marshalling the might of local and international agencies, they spearheaded the urgent relief and resettlement of thousands of displaced Holocaust survivors desperate to leave a shattered Europe, a graveyard continent of dust and ashes. By 1954, 17,000 survivors called Australia home.

Following the chaos of war, Leo and Mina remained at the forefront of community life. They initiated expansive welfare programs, while personally helping countless individuals. Mina's devotion to a group of war orphans known as the 'Buchenwald boys' was testament to her relentless efforts, along with Leo's, to improve the lives of others.

But survival of the Jewish world remained paramount. Leo pioneered the first Australian business venture in Israel, in a bid to underpin the young nation's fragile economy. Mina's global outreach and humanitarian vision transformed the National Council of Jewish Women into a proactive force with a clear feminist agenda. When Holocaust denial launched its assault on historical truth and memory, Mina championed the establishment of Melbourne's Holocaust Museum, pushing its mandate beyond remembrance to education, to combat all forms of racism.

Leo and Mina Fink's remarkable story is skilfully told through the turbulent, rapidly shifting times in which they lived. This is a compelling account of how and why two individuals set out to change the world for the greater good.
Imprint:   Monash University Publishing
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 19mm
ISBN:   9781922464866
ISBN 10:   1922464864
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Dr Margaret Taft is a research associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University. For the past 12 years her research has focused on the reconstruction of Jewish immigrant life in pre-war and post-war 20th-century Australia. Her particular interest lies with the Yiddish speakers from Eastern Europe whose personal agency, leadership and cultural identity transformed what had been a predominantly Anglo Jewish community. Margaret is an experienced author, teacher, lecturer and public speaker. Her publications include From Victim to Survivor: The Emergence and Development of the Holocaust Witness 1941-1949 and A Second Chance: The Making of Yiddish Melbourne, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Community History Awards. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, her early years were spent in the culturally rich post-war immigrant community of Northcote.

Reviews for Leo and Mina Fink: For the Greater Good

An inspiring biography of a remarkable couple who dedicated their lives to restoring the forsaken and broken. -- Arnold Zable This is a fascinating and inspirational Australian story. * Books+Publishing *

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