Andrew Havas

“I decided that I really wanted to giveback something to this country.”

I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1949.
My mother, father and I arrived in Australia in May 1957.

Coming to Australia

When we arrived, we were welcomed by the Sydney Jewish community and particularly by Syd Einfeld who I think was just the most remarkable man. The Jewish Welfare Society gave us 50 pounds and they got us accommodation. We lived in Victoria Street, King's Cross.  This was quite interesting - it was an old terrace house, and we lived on the top floor of that terrace house next to a pub, so it was very good education for me, an eye opener there in Kings Cross.

Giving back

I joined the cadets in school. Already at quite an early stage, I decided that I really wanted to give back something to this country. I thought Australia was just absolutely fantastic and it's given beautiful opportunities to myself, to my parents.  Even though my parents were Holocaust survivors, they never made a big deal of it.

Key Migration Wave - Hungarian Revolution

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 against the Soviets sparked the second wave of Jewish Hungarian migration. As a result of this conflict approximately 20,000 Hungarian Jews fled to Canada, USA, Australia, and Israel between 1956 and 1957. Of those who came to Australia, an estimated 70% of these immigrants settled in Sydney.

Listen to Andrew's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Full Transcript available here

Andrew talks about his extraordinary escape as a seven year old with his parents from Hungary during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution across the border safely to Austria and finally to Australia.


Andrew's family loved Hungarian food but the ingredients were hard to source in Sydney when they arrived.  His mother used to travel miles across the city to get their favourite Hungarian spices and other goods.


Andrew’s family found it difficult to practice Judaism in Hungary. He tells us how wonderful it was to get to Australia where his family could re-discover their yiddishkeit (Jewishness).


Andrew has done much important work in the community, including the establishing of the exhibition program Courage to Care. This gives him great naches.  He believes in giving back to this country that has given him and his family so many opportunities.