Waverley Council last week unveiled an historic plaque at the Waverley Park Cenotaph in recognition of our World War II allies from the former Republics of the Soviet Union.
Waverley Mayor Ingrid Strewe and NSW Russian Veterans Association’s Efim Solovei unveiled the plaque at 10.30am on August 29 during a moving dedication ceremony attended by Russian and Australian veterans, Bondi Junction/Waverley RSL club president Bill Harrigan and Councillor George Newhouse.
Also present was the Ambassador of the Russian Federation of Australia, His Excellency Alexander Blokhin.
Rabbi Yoram Ulman said a prayer for the fallen at the end of the ceremony.
In her speech, Mayor Strewe said she was pleased the council had acted to commemorate the millions of men and women who helped to defeat fascism.
‘The Soviet Union’s fight against fascism during World War Two was all the more tragic because of its great loss of life,’ she said. ‘Those who fought were often ordinary people who went to war and did extraordinary things. They fought for their country, they fought for their beliefs, they fought because they had to; there was no alternative. Ultimately, they made the world a safer place.’
The mayor also acknowledged the contribution Russian Australians have made to the area and said there was now a local place for them to visit and remember their compatriots: ‘From now, and for future generations, all Australians including Russian Australians can join together to remember the great sacrifice of their forebears and to keep their memory alive.’
Waverley Council consulted with the Russian community and local RSL clubs to ensure the appropriateness of installing the plaque.