The following, powerful letter was published in The Australian, 19/5/2015. Thank you to the undersigned authors for decrying the abhorrent treatment of refugees, stranded at sea and in dire need of our help.
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As Jews, the sight of desperate refugees on a ship, being refused entry to country after country, brings back memories of the German passenger ship St Louis, which, in 1939 and filled with European Jewish refugees, was turned away repeatedly, resulting in 254 passengers eventually dying under the Nazi regimen.
We therefore appeal to the Prime Minister and government as an act of mercy and generosity to immediately let into Australia the refugees who have been abandoned at sea, and to encourage our neighbours to take a share of them.
These are oppressed human beings who could make an immediate and valuable contribution to the rural workforce, and become valuable citizens, as have previous arrivals.
Jonathan Keren-Black, Kew, Vic
Robin Rothfield, Alphington, Vic