The Abraham Neuhauser Collection

These books are part of the private collection of Abarham Neuhauser, donated to the library by granddaughter Pauline Schwarcz and her extended family.

In the late 1950s, as the SS Surriento embarked on its journey from Europe to Australia, among the thousand refugees aboard was a man whose luggage comprised over a hundred kilograms of immense books. These were no ordinary books, and the passenger who brought them was no ordinary man. Abraham Neuhauser, hailing from Kosice, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), had endured the heart-wrenching loss of his wife and three of his seven children during the Holocaust. Despite the decimation of his community, he held fast to his love for Jewish learning and unwavering commitment to Judaism.

Prior to the war, Abraham had fervently studied the Talmud alongside other Orthodox men five nights a week. As he ventured towards Melbourne, where he would be reunited with his surviving children, he carried with him a deep desire to continue his pursuit of Jewish knowledge and observance in his newly adopted country. To ensure these precious sefarim (holy books) weren’t abandoned or discarded, he meticulously collected the most significant works of Talmud, some of which bore the names of their former owners inscribed within their covers.

Upon his arrival in Melbourne, Abraham generously distributed these sacred sefarim among family members and local synagogues. In partnership with Rabbi Neumann of Adass Yisrael, he established a Talmud Torah to educate a group of boys, fostering a thriving atmosphere of learning. Even at home, he continued to delve into the Talmud with other men, cherishing the precious sefarim as indispensable tools for their studies.

Tragically, only two years after his arrival in Melbourne, Abraham Neuhauser passed away, leaving behind a significant legacy. His family became the custodians of this vast collection of sefarim and upheld his vision and continued to preserve these invaluable treasures for more than seventy years.

Today, the sefarim of Kosice have found a new and fitting home in the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia, serving as a testament to the enduring spirit of a man who survived immense tragedy and devoted his life to perpetuating the legacy of Jewish wisdom and tradition.