ANZAC SHABBAT: Held annually
AHS Centaur was honoured on Anzac Shabbat, 2010
Warrant Officer Norman Lesnie and Major Dr I H (Dick) Sender were two of the 268 sailors and others who died when the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur was torpedoed by the Japanese on 14 May 1943.
Despite her clear identification as a hospital ship, the single torpedo struckher port side admidships, triggering a secondary explosion and opening a large hole in her hull.
Mortally wounded, the ship sank in less than three minutes, with only 64 survivors.
Last year both the Federal and Queensland governments committed funds to finding the remains of the Centaur and it was finally located on 20 December 2009 some 30 nautical miles due east of the southern tip of Moreton Island.
Thanks to Jan Thomas, the secretary of the Centaur Association, the National Service of Thanskgiving and Remembrance for the AHS Centaur, held on 2 March at St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane, included prayers from leaders of different faiths including an “Act of Commitment” by Ari Heber representing the Jewish community.
Warrant Officer Lesnie, who was single and 28 years old, was the son of Harry and Ruby Lesnie, brother of, among others, Joyce Feller and brother in law of Shirley Lesnie. He was uncle to many including David Lesnie and Barbara Freedman of The Great Synagogue.
Major Dr Dick Sender also has Great Synagogue relatives including his niece, Sandra Berman.
“Thanks to Rabbi Lawrence’s co-operation, the two Jews who died on the Centaur and were honoured during our annual Anzac Day Shabbat,” David Lesnie said.
The Shabbat this year was marked on 24 April,2010 with NAJEX and FAJEX participants as well as David Lesnie himself and David Berman, husband to Sandra, representing the two Jews who died tragically in the Centaur
The Great's war memorabilia
The Great Synagogue has a collection of memorabilia relating to both World Wars and other conflicts which are displayed from time to time.
In our vestibule in Elizabeth Street there are also memorial plaques with the names of those from the Jewish community who perished in both World Wars.
On the Shabbat closest to Anzac Day we pay tribute to those Jews who fought in both World Wars