Edward Broughton: Mensch

I’ve mentioned Edward Broughton numerous times on this blog, a man of great humanity who responded to the plight of the Jewish internees who were at his command. A quick snippet from one of the grateful internees. So far I’ve read it on each occasion at the three dinners I’ve held to raise money for refugees like a kind of prayer. I love this passage:

Keenly intelligent, well-read, endowed with a superb sense of humour, completely untainted by any racial prejudice… deeply interested in human beings, he did not only gain immediate respect and obedience, but also the love and affection of the unit. He enjoyed hugely being at its head, learned and meticulously respected Jewish customs, and was immensely proud of the unit because of the splendid work it did, humbly unaware of the fact that it was only he who could have turned these people into willing manual labourers. … He engaged in incessant publicity war on our behalf and fought hard to have our status changed, only to be booted out by the Army eventually. After being shoved around as flotsam and jetsam for many years he managed… to make us feel like human beings again. He restored our faith in man, as something more than 92 per cent water and a few chemicals. He was a scholar and a gentleman.

So when I bought my copy of Dunera Lives Volume II with profiles of numerous Dunera Boys in it, I raced to the front of the book and read Broughton’s entry. I asked the publishers of the two volumes, Monash University Press, for permission to publish the profile of Broughton and they agreed and provided me with this pdf file for you pdf file for your delectation. I commend it to you and the book which can be purchased from this link.

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1 Response to Edward Broughton: Mensch

  1. Nicholas Gruen says:

    An interesting exchange with James Kable in response to my sending this out to my mailing list

    Dear Nicholas

    Brilliant piece on Tip Broughton.

    I began my secondary teaching in Hay – a vague awareness of WWII PoW Internment camps. A mate and I planned two months in Europe at the end of 1972/early 1973. Eurail pass travel – most countries on the western side of The Wall. Organised travel through an agent in Sydney – I think now – somewhere up William Street?

    His name was “Miller”. When we first went to him – he was interested that we were from Hay (well, my mate was from Benalla, I was originally from Sydney then raised in Tamworth – then Sydney for tertiary studies) but he too had spent a brief time in Hay – during the war, he explained – he was a “Dunera Boy”…which at the time had little resonance for me – he explained briefly – the memory of the meeting never left me! And I have since read up quite a lot…

    I sent this to Carol, one of the authors of the book who was raised in Hay and has made herself the unofficial Dunera archivist poring through the various records. It was Carol who told me the date on which my father was transferred to Tatura, when I thought he’d remained in Hay the entire time.

    She wrote back:

    I believe Jim might be talking about Josef/Joseph (Joe) Millet who resided in Sydney after the war. He was born in Vienna in 1924, was in Camp 8 and served in 8 Employment. He married in 1944 and his parents and brother who were in Italy arrived in Australia in about 1946.
    The electoral roll only has him as salesman but a lot seem never to have updated their occupation from the one they used when they first enrolled.
    He is the only one I can find on my lists with anything close to Miller in Australia. I have only one other in England, spelt Millar, and he died in mid 1973.
    Thanks for the mention of the book & am glad you liked the Broughton chapter.
    Will leave the above with you but will send Jim Kable an email myself in a day or so. I remember him at Hay and, as far as I can recall, he was my history teacher in 5th Form in 1972 or maybe 6th in 1973.

    On sending this back to Jim he replied:


    There is a Japanese expression: 「世間は狭い」seken-wa-semai – The World is Narrow. The Spanish put it another way: “El mundo es un pañuelo” – the World is a Handkerchief.

    That’s exactly the answer. Millet! And Carol Bunyan – I recognise the name. It must have been 1972 (and I hope I did her no harm – a young teacher – lots of energy – little experience) at the end of which nearly two months travelling the world (thanks to Josef MILLET) – and by the start of the 1973 school year I was on a forced-transfer – to nearby (110 kms distant to the south) Deni(liquin). Then marriage at the end of that year – and transfer with my teacher wife to Inverell and the new second high school – Macintyre HS.

    So Josef was from Vienna. Oder – aus Wien. There are family connection stories from “the other side” with that fair city. I have an elderly German uncle – Paul (nearly 91) who married my father’s twin (a sister). In the 1950s as a young Merchant seaman/engineer he “jumped” ship in Australia – walked into a police station – not sent to Manus or Nauru – things were far easier then. (His mother – divorced from his father in the early 1930s) was picked up by the Gestapo in 1937 for helping folk identified as Jewish to escape from Germany – in Darmstadt. She died in mid-February 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau – “of exhaustion” stated her death certificate. My uncle a lad of 14 in a Hitler Youth school was told she was killed by “ llied” bombing. He did not learn the truth till after the death of his father in 1980 – examining his father’s papers. Tragic. Last year Christine and I visited Birkenau – as a kind of tribute to her courage and death. He had a younger half-brother – became an Austrian citizen – wife from Schleswig in far northern Germany – a nursing sister – he in the arts – acting/directing – passed away early last year. Bruno Thost. I met/caught up with him a number of times in Vienna – strong memories from the 1970s – he was a member of the Burgtheater – later an Emeritus eminence – till his death – early 80s. I have read The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal – of course (with the Japan connection). And friendship in those early 1980s with Margaret DIESENDORF – a remarkable woman/writer – poet!

    I remember when Tom Keneally published Schindler’s Ark (in its pre-Steven Spielberg Schindler’s List format) he wrote an article in the SMH in which he paid tribute to the Cool Hand Lukes – those who survived the Holocaust – because as his book was early being promoted/publicised – as if out of the woodwork – dozens of Schindler’s people identified themselves – here in Australia – or equally out of other almost unbelievable hidden identities surviving in the midst of Nazi structures. A colleague at the time in Sydney – early 1980s was Lesley SPINDLER – her father then a NSW MP/MLC? who had some such background. In 1990 I edited a couple of anthologies for OUP (Melb.) for one of which (Made in Australia) Tom gave me permission to reprint his essay.

    Thank-you again. I await Carol’s letter with much anticipation…


    Jim KABLE

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