Ruth Benjamin: Farewelled 8 January, 2003

What an amazing woman we're honouring today. Ruth was an inspiration to many of us. She lived a rich and often challenging life, but lived it on her own terms. What Ruth experienced has helped many of us keep our own lives in perspective. She beat the Gestapo, lived to tell the tale and learned to laugh about it. She even gave her bad memory credit for that triumph, claiming she couldn't remember what she shouldn't tell them, let alone what she knew she mustn't.

Ruth was a refugee, a lucky one. She and Eric escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany before most of the world had any idea what horror was in store.

We are fortunate. Today we will hear Ruth tell us some of her own story in her own words. This video was made twelve years ago for a university subject called History and Film which focussed on understanding the holocaust through film and video.

[ play video ]

Thank You Ruth for getting out, for telling your story. Thankyou for living as long as you did and longer than you thought you would. Thankyou for caring, for giving, for sharing, and for adding so much to all our lives.

Let's remember some others no longer here to mourn Ruth with us and hope that perhaps they are welcoming her back to them. Ernst, Ruth's little brother, Nick once lover then foster brother, a comrade in spirit and Mutti, Nick's mother. Eric, Ruth's husband, a companion for over 50 years. Jozef Hermann, her "younger man", who then became her dedicated carer. Graeme Dalzell- a fairy godfather, Lydia - who shared Ruth's bohemian free spirit and many others, too numerous to recount here now.

Thoughts and Wishes are with us from some too distant to be here today - Marie Therese, Ruth's cousin sends greetings from France, and Mary Weber, long time friend of the family, is thinking of us from the US of A.

Our gratitude to those who cared for Ruth is hard to fully express, but thanks are due to the people at The Old Colonists in Nth Fitzroy, those at Lynch's Bridge in Kensington, and to Tania and Trish, Carers from Melbourne City Councils program to assist the elderly to stay at home. A Special Thankyou to Dawn Rainbow, for caring for Ruth after Jozef passed away. And finally, to all the staff who cared for Ruth here at Harold McCracken House we give our deepest thanks.

Most of all Ruth would want to acknowledge you all here today, and express her love for you and your part in her life. It was the people Ruth gathered around her that helped add so much colour to her existence. An existence we'll all miss greatly and remember with great warmth.

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