Peter Berger

“We started a little restaurant at Bondi Beach on Campbell Parade in 1958.”

I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1951.
My grandmother (on my mother’s side), mother, father, brother and I arrived in Australia in 1957.

Coming to Australia

My first impression was a change immediately to a large family. We had nobody back home, everybody was here, so that was nice. I had cousins and aunties and uncles. That was beautiful.

I loved school. I loved just a different way of life.

And the emphasis on the sport. I'm a sport lover and straight away we were playing cricket and soccer and athletics. It was just a beautiful free country for a six year old - that's all you want.

Starting the Gelato Bar

My mother said she couldn't cook, she couldn't bake.  All my parents could do was work very hard. We started a little restaurant at Bondi Beach on Campbell Parade in 1958 and just started with the basics. Within no time we hired the right people - good chefs and the restaurant became almost like an icon quite quickly. The other immigrants needed somewhere to go to eat because they also worked non-stop. They had no time to cook so they very often came to us to have dinner.  Some people came every night to dinner at our restaurant with their family.

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 Peter's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Full transcript available here

Peter’s family, who survived the Holocaust, were still living in Hungary when the Revolution began. There was a small window of opportunity and, although the route was dangerous, his family managed to escape Hungary and eventually travel to Australia for a better life .


Listen to how hard work and making authentic European and Hungarian dishes and pastries led the Berger family’s Gelato Bar at Bondi Beach to become an icon.


Peter explains how his family changed their religious practices when migrating to Australia and how he loves keeping the High Holidays and going to synagogue.


Sharing times with the family and his elderly mother is what naches means to Peter.