A close ally of Great Britain, Australia declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. Australian troops fought Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa and they fought Japan in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

By 1901, there were an estimated 15,000 Jews in Australia. When the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933, many German Jews migrated to Australia. The Australian government was initially hesitant in permitting entry to many Jews, but in 1938, it allotted 15,000 visas to “victims of oppression”. Some 7,000 Jews were able to obtain these visas before the outbreak of the Second World War put an end to the program. Jews from Germany were interned as enemy aliens from the start of the war until 1942. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Australia gradually abandoned its previous Anglo-centric immigration policy and permitted immigration of some European Jews who were survivors of the Holocaust. In 1939, Australia had a population of 6,935,000.

Archival Situation

The National Archives of Australia were established in 1983 and are quite centralized. Each state has its own archival repositories and there are also a number of regional and university archives. Institutions especially relevant for Holocaust research include the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Melbourne, Victoria and the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

EHRI Research (Summary)

EHRI has identified several Holocaust-related archival institutions: Archive of Australian Judaica, Australian Jewish Historical Society, Jewish Museum of Australia, Sydney Jewish Museum and Jewish Holocaust Centre. EHRI has also managed to provide descriptions for the Holocaust-related collections of the Sydney Jewish Museum and the Jewish Holocaust Centre, but is yet to determine the exact nature and importance of relevant holdings in the other institutions and the National Archives.