Avram Zeleznikow, Holocaust survivor and mainstay of Australian Jewry

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Avram Zeleznikow, a Vilna Ghetto survivor and partisan fighter whose restaurant in Melbourne became a meeting place for the survivor community, has died.

Zeleznikow, the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust, died June 8. He was 89.

Zeleznikow waded through more than 30 miles of sewers to escape the ghetto in 1943 and join the partisans.

After the war, he and his wife to be, Masha, met in a Paris café named Scheherazade. Soon after immigrating to Australia, they opened their own Café Scheherazade, which became an iconic institution in Jewish Melbourne.

His son, John, said his parents served meals to survivors who could not afford to pay.

Zeleznikow was president of the Australian Jewish Welfare and Relief Society, a member of the executive of the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies, chairman of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and a representative of the Jewish community on the Ethnic Communities Council.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2003 “for service to the Jewish community of Victoria.” — jta