Thomas Wolf

“I didn’t know I was Jewish until I came to Australia.”

I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1946.
My mother, father, sister and I arrived in Australia in June 1957.

I didn't know there was such a thing as religion

My dad was in the Communist Party. I didn't know there was such a thing as religion. I didn't know what religion was until we crossed the border into Austria. I knew there were rumblings of Jewish, not Jewish, that kind of thing.  I didn’t know I was Jewish until I came to Australia.

You pick what you want to be

I knew my grandmother, my father’s mother, we’d go over there on a Friday night and she had these candles burning. I didn’t know what they were.  I noticed that my parents a few times during the year, didn’t eat. It meant nothing until I came to realise after we’d left. I learned about the different religions because dad said to me early on, “You pick what you want to be”.

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 Tom's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Full transcript available here

Tom explains how his family were true political refugees and how they escaped the Hungarian Revolution and settled in Bondi.


Tom explains how Hungarian food is peasant food an how his mum was a great cook!


Tom didn’t know he was Jewish until after he left Hungary. His father, a “progressive” man told him to pick his own religion.


Tom gets such satisfaction in working at the Men’s Shed in Bondi and 30+ year association with the Judean Scouts.