Members of the extended Slutzkin family at the ANZAC Memorial Center in Beersheba..
(photo credit: DENNIS ZINN KKL-JNF)
An international reunion of the extended Slutzkin family on December 31 at the ANZAC Memorial Centre in Beersheba brings the story of Jews in Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine and the British Commonwealth to life in a very personal way.
Thirty members of the extended Slutzkin family arrived at the ANZAC Memorial Center in Beersheba one day after their enormous international family reunion in Rehovot. The visit was an integral part of their reunion agenda for several reasons, all of which became clear during the course of the outing.
They were met by ANZAC Memorial Center Director Nitzan Dayan, who revealed that the facility was opened just two months earlier in the presence of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull; Governor General of New Zealand Patsy Reddy; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; JNF Australia President Peter Smaller and KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Mike Nitzan. “The Facility, which is shaped like a horse’s head,” he said, “was designed and built with from the support of JNF Australia to celebrate the achievements of the ANZAC and British troops at the Battle of Beer Sheva during World War I, and their victory over the Ottoman army.”
Museum guide Collin Fremde conducted the tour around the site and presented a thorough explanation of the allied tactics, which led to the defeat of the Turkish forces. On display were artifacts from that period, including a soldier’s memoirs, photographs, and films. In one cabinet was a steel covered diary.
“This was a Christmas present from British Princess Mary to her troops who were serving in the war. It took the army over 4 years to complete the distribution of her gift.”
Leading the visiting group was Melbourne-based family matriarch Gael Hammer, grandniece of Lazar Slutzkin, who provided some insight into the history of the family.
“The Slutzkins can trace its roots back to 1700 in Russia, but members of this reunion in Israel are all descendants of Lazar and Rose Slutzkin of Melbourne, Australia, who immigrated to Israel in 1898. They had 7 children and built a magnificent house in Rechovot which is where we held our reunion last night. Seventy family members hailing from Australia, England, Israel and the United States were present.”
More on the fascinating history of the Slutzkin family