The deputy Liberal leader said on Wednesday that society had a collective duty to ensure the world would “never again” suffer through a dark period in world history such as World War II.
“As the years go by memories fade, there are people who are seeking to diminish the loss of life during the Holocaust, there are countries that are challenging its very existence, there is the rise of the far right in countries around the world, including in some parts of Australia,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“This is why we are all here, this is why we all must be here,” he said at the unveiling of new items in a public exhibit highlighting the Australian connection to the Holocaust.
Among the items on display are Henryka Shaw’s dress, a survivor of five Nazi concentration camps.
“Henryka was a remarkable Jewish woman who survived five concentration camps and when on arrival to Auschwitz, she was told to go right, she was tattooed with her camp number A-26538 and she moved into the camp complex where she survived to see liberation in 1945,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“It was at that time her fellow camp inmates made a beautiful dress for her.”
The exhibit also includes a pocket knife and jewellery made from scrap metal in Dachau, a concentration camp uniform, and a sketchbook made by Australian official war artist Alan Moore, who was among the first allied troops to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation.
Acting Director of the Australian War Memorial, Major General (Ret’d) Brian Dawson, said the material would put human faces to the Holocaust and shed light on the experiences of survivors who migrated to Australia and Australians present at the liberation of concentration camps across Europe.
“The impact of the Holocaust was not confined to Europe; it is also an Australian story. Between 20,000 and 35,000 survivors found a home in postwar Australia,” Mr Dawson said.
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra