JULIUS Nadel, who passed away at the age of 101 last week, has been described as “a hero of our people” for his dedication to the Jewish community and Israel.
Born in Poland in June 1918, Nadel joined Betar in his formative years, where his love of Israel was nurtured. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, he joined the Polish Underground.
In 1942 he was arrested by the Gestapo and spent the remainder of the war in the Plaszow and Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camps.
After the war he underwent CIA training and was involved in secret missions all over Europe.
Arriving in Australia in 1949, he helped to found the Community Security Group (CSG) and JCA, while also serving on the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) and the Jewish War Memorial.
With his army experience and CIA training, he provided security to visiting Israeli dignitaries including Moshe Dayan, Abba Eban and personal friend Menachem Begin.
Nadel married fellow Polish refugee Lita Singer in 1952. The couple had three daughters, Louise, Sandra and Lesley.
Louise and Lesley sadly both passed away in 2002, but not before, together with Sandra, providing Julius and Lita with eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Lita sadly passed away three years ago.
In 1976, the Israeli Ministry of Defence awarded Nadel the Decoration to Fighters for the State of Israel, which has been bestowed on only a few recipients.
In February 2018 he was awarded Poland’s Golden Cross of Merit for his wartime efforts.
When he turned 100 that June, he received personal letters from both Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief Gadi Eizenkot.
Nadel was also a long-time supporter of the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM) and a regular attendee at morning teas held for SJM members at Montefiore Randwick, SJM CEO Norman Seligman saying “he will be sadly missed by all”.
JBOD president Lesli Berger described Nadel as “a personification of modern history, such was the breadth of his experiences”.
“Not only that, but his contribution to our community and to Israel was both wide-ranging and remarkable,” he said.
JCA president Stephen Chipkin said, “He has left an enduring legacy to our local Jewish community through the work we continue to do every day, and we will be eternally grateful for his vision and leadership.”
Close friend Rob Schneider added, “Julius was a hero of our people … He lived, dreamed, ate and slept Israel.”
Per Nadel’s wishes, members of Betar formed an honour guard at his funeral last Sunday, while an Israeli flag and IDF cap he had given longtime friend Robert Gescheit were placed on his coffin.
A statement provided to The AJN by Nadel’s grandchildren described him as a role model and active grandfather who went to great lengths to take care of those he loved.
“On behalf of the family in Israel, we thank the Sydney Jewish community for being such loving and loyal friends to our grandfather.
“He was a legend, a force of nature. It’s hard to believe that he is gone.”