Category Archives: Guest Speaker



From the desk of the president

Welcome to our February Newsletter. Save the date 14th February and the 14th March for our next AJGS Events.  We are delighted to be able to invite you to events being organized by other Societies.

Members have an opportunity to win one of  three FREE DOUBLE PASSES to JIFF, the Jewish International Film Festival.  For information on how to enter see details below.

We also welcome suggestions for people or topics you would like to hear.  In this current Zoom world there are no limits to the people that we are able to reach out to anywhere in the world. Please send your suggestions to Barbara Simon.


Website Mystery Tour: Australian Jewish Historical Society’s (AJHS)

Speaker: Peter Philippsohn OAM – President AJHS
Sunday 14 February, 2021 - 3:00pm – 4:00pm
VIA ZOOM Meeting ID: 868 7408 7700  Passcode: 991681
Join Peter to explore the many areas of the AJHS website that could help you in your genealogical research.

Honouring Jeannette Tsoulos & Sunny Gold

Sunday 14 March 2021 - 10:00am – 1:00pm
North Shore Synagogue, Lindfield
Join us to honour Jeannette & Sunny who have dedicated many years of service to this Society.
RSVP Essential by Sunday 7th March to ensure we meet regulations.


ASPJ invites you to... People, Not Numbers: Preserving the memory of lost Jewish communities... Unveiling a memorial in Grybow, Poland.

Speaker: Dariusz Popiela
in conversation with Karen Pakula
Wednesday 17 February, 2021 at 8:00pm
Via Zoom or the ASPJ Website
In 2019, in the southern Polish town of Grybów, the Olympic athlete Dariusz Popiela unveiled a memorial inscribed with the names of the town’s 1,774 lost Jews.

AJGS (Vic) invites you to: The Fate of German Jews: One Family’s Perspective

Speaker: Brian Luber
Sunday 21 February, 2021 from 2:30pm
Via Zoom - Meeting ID: 883 0010 7168   Passcode: 009146
Brian’s presentation covers his family’s experiences in Germany and his visits to neighbouring countries. The relatives he discovered divulged stories which include the little-known but now infamous ‘Lost Transport’ where Jews were taken by train from Bergen-Belsen to Theresienstadt, never arriving at their destination.


DATE: 20–22 February, 2021
Registration is free.

Family History Down Under
DATE: 23–26 March, 2021
Register online

IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
DATE: 2-5 August, 2021
LOCATION: Philadelphia USA/ Zoom
Earlybird registration available 1st March, 2021


JIFF, the Jewish International Film Festival, is back with screenings in all major capital cities. JIFF is offering AJGS members the chance to win one of three FREE DOUBLE PASSES. Screenings in Sydney run from the 18th February to the 24th March.
Check out the JIFF website for details.

To go in the draw to win tickets CLICK THIS LINK and tell us in 25 words or less why you would like tickets to JIFF. Don't forget to include your name and postal address. Competition closes 12th February 2021

Eastern Suburbs Workshop May 19, 2019

TOPIC: Making sense of DNA data:
How can my DNA test tell me I have Ashkenazi, Sephardi or Mizrahi heritage?

Genealogical DNA testing has exploded in popularity over the last few years but you might be asking yourself how useful is it really and what does it all mean?

  • What’s the difference between autosomal and mitochondrial testing?
  • Should I upload my results to other services like GedMatch?
  • How do I do this and what are the privacy implications?
  • How do I work out how I’m related to the people who come up as my matches?
  • Why are the percentages so small and what on earth is a centimorgan?

Dani Haski will work through the various aspects of genealogical DNA – what it is, the different testing regimes available, how to interpret your results and how to use some of the new tools available from the big players to climb new branches of your family tree. She will also discuss some of the big research projects on specific aspects of Jewish DNA.

Eastern Suburbs Workshop

DATE: Sunday May 19, 2019
TIME: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Waverley Library,
48 Denison Street


Click on the cover to download the PDF.

New look, new editor, same bear!! Kosher Koala has had a facelift but we hope you’ll find the same fascinating features, interesting interviews and non-stop news, views, tips and tricks to guide you along your genealogical journey.

In this issue… We say farewell to outgoing editor Robyn Dryen (don’t worry, she’s still President!!), welcome new editor Dani Haski, Sunny Gold reviews Peter Nash’s memoir Escape from Berlin: A refugee flees anti-Semitism and the Holocaust of WWII to Shanghai and then Australia and we explore a fascinating collection of stories about cemeteries. We have updates on the 2018 AIJGS conference in Poland, a new column, Sledgehammer, for people to share brick wall breakthroughs and information on special events and workshops for 2018.

We love our members contributing stories to Kosher Koala. If you have any stories you’d like to share email them to me at

Enjoy the issue!

Guest Speaker: Dr Andrew Zalewski

The Great War (1914-18): Jewish Lives in Galicia




Sunday January 21, 2018


Join us as Dr Andrew Zalewski intertwines his own genealogical discoveries with the broader historical context of Jewish Galicia. He will focus on World War I and the eastern front in Galicia, which was home to the largest Jewish community in Austro-Hungary. Uncovering his ancestors’ individual stories, Andrew follows waves of Russian offensives and Central Powers counteroffensives which swept through Galicia. He describes dramatic events in small and large cities (Lwów, Przemyśl, Kraków), which impacted many Jewish lives. His talk covers the Great War (World War I) through to its climactic end in 1918. In Galicia, in contrast to the Western front, the conflict did not end with the disintegration of Austro-Hungary.

This talk is based on the archival records and historic newspaper research conducted for Andrew’s book Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots, and is illustrated with pictures, historical and unique archival documents, and old maps of Galicia.

Download the event flyer

Download the event flyer

Date: Sunday January 21, 2018
Time: 2.00PM - 4:30PM
Cost: Members: Free | Non-Members: $10.00
(NB: This is a cash only event. There will be no facility for credit or debit cards available)
Light refreshments will be served.
RSVP by January 18, 2018

Dr Andrew Zalewski is a physician and former Professor of Medicine at Jefferson University, Philadelphia. Among his non-medical pursuits, Andrew has developed an extensive interest in the history of Austrian Galicia (1772– 1918) and its Jewish community. Several generations of his Jewish and Christian ancestors traced their roots to this former province of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empire. His books: Galician Trails: The Forgotten Story of One Family and Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots are available through online booksellers. Andrew serves on the Board of Directors of Gesher Galicia, Inc. He is also Executive Editor of the Galitzianer, the organization's quarterly research journal.