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Interview With My Father: Part Fifteen

A number of years ago, my father was interviewed for the Jewish Migrant Oral History Project. Thankfully, I have a copy of the interview, and I will be publishing excerpts from it in his memory.

Previous installments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Interviewer: How were you finding Perth? How were you as a young bloke finding Perth, Western Australia as opposed to where you’d come from?

Dad: It was pretty tough. I hadn’t done English at school, I hadn’t been to school in Germany. In mathematics I was okay because my father had taught me on the boat coming here, several months of mathematics. I went to Highgate State School and there most kids were handicapped in that they were either Greek, Italian, Maltese, you name it. But I was a German and a Jew. Gradually, all that faded. There were a few school bullies because with the war going on several of the bigger boys in primary school were about 15 or 16 – they were repeating years because I don’t know whether they were that low intellect or because they wanted to stay out of doing what they were supposed to be doing. And Brisbane Street was very close to Highgate Primary School and we went to Hebrew School there, three times a week.

Interviewer: What was Hebrew School like?

Dad: I didn’t like it much.

Interviewer: Why not?

Dad: I got picked on. When Rabbi F was alive he took exception to me because I was taught to read or do Hebrew by my mother’s grandmother’s brother and it wasn’t the same as our very formal rabbi. He said, “I want you to read Hebrew by the stop watch.” Then when Rabbi Rubin Zachs came it all changed because he was very easy going. Wasn’t run like an army institution like under Rabbi F. I gradually got the message that you had to do a bit of work to learn your Hebrew. So by the time I was 12, I was able to cope. I got along with most kids, although I got into a couple of fights, mainly in connection with this Polish thing.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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