The Freedom Circus: Sue Smethurst in conversation with Sue Hampel OAM

Join us in person at our temporary home in Malvern East or via Zoom to see award-winning author and journalist Sue Smethurst in conversation with the Melbourne Holocaust Museum’s Co-President Sue Hampel OAM about The Freedom Circus.

Sue Smethurst is an award-winning author and journalist. She has spent more than 20 years working in the media across television, radio and magazines.

Sue Hampel OAM is the Co-President of the Melbourne Holocaust Museum. She holds a MA in Holocaust & Genocide Studies and serves on the Australian delegation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as an expert in Holocaust Education.

This is the first in-person event since COVID-19 closed our doors more than a year ago. We are thrilled to welcome you back! We understand that not everyone is comfortable with public gatherings, so we are also offering the option of live streaming via Zoom.

Important information

  • For those who will be joining us in-person, we will provide the address of our Malvern East location in an email after booking.
  • For those who will be watching on Zoom, a link and instructions on how to join will be provided via email before the event.

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About The Freedom Circus

The Freedom Circus tells the story of one family’s courage, hope, survival as well as their death-defying act escaping the Nazis and starting a new life in Australia.

After Sue married into the Horowitz family, she heard snippets of stories about an astonishing cross-country escape through Poland and Russia during World War II, and of life in a circus. Sue realised she was in possession of an important piece of history and so, armed with a tin of old photographs and a voice recorder, she visited her husband’s grandmother, Mindla Horowitz, each week in an attempt to find out more.

Mindla was a young Jewish girl living in Warsaw when she met Kubush, a clown performing with Poland’s famous Staniewski Brothers circus. The young couple fell in love and were married, but soon after, war broke out. When Hitler began his reign of terror in Warsaw, Kubush was far from home with the circus. Mindla fled with their little boy, Gad, to be with her husband, but after arriving in the eastern city of Bialystok she found the circus had already moved on. She was captured, sent to a Russian prison and Gad was taken from her.