July 29, 2021

Australian Jewish billionaire Sir Frank Lowy makes his alyah

Frank Lowy, a Holocaust survivor who fought in the War of Independence and became a shopping mall tycoon in Australia, made his alyah.

“I feel like I’m at home. That’s all. It’s very simple, ”Lowy said in an interview broadcast on Channel 12 on Tuesday.

Born in what is now Slovakia in 1930, Lowy and his family were imprisoned in the Budapest ghetto during the war. His father, Hugo, had disappeared as he tried to find a way to scare his family away.

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Lowy had fled to France, attempted to reach Palestine but was intercepted by the British in Cyprus before finally reaching the goal of his trip. He then joined the ranks of the Hagana and fought during the Israeli War of Independence.

“When I was a lone soldier, I didn’t have a dime with me. Everyone ate hummus with tehina or felafel, and I couldn’t afford it. I was hungry, a bit, but I made it out, ”Lowy said in Hebrew in the report.

Australian billionaire and philanthropist Sir Frank Lowy walks Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv after doing his Alyah in May 2019 (Screen capture: Channel 12)

Working as a plumber after the war, Lowy had decided to join his mother and brother when they obtained visas for Australia in 1952, at that time abandoning his first name of Pinchas for Frank – which had a more English-speaker.

Living a success-storyLowy then worked his way up the Australian company and in 1959 he co-founded the Westfield shopping center company, which he sold in December 2017 for $ 33 billion.

At the end of that year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for “his contribution to the UK economy through the company he founded, Westfield, and his major investments in the UK. UK. “

Lowy tells Channel 12 that he began to take an interest in the UK when he was a young boy living in war-torn Eastern Europe. As a child, he recalls, he would sit in a shelter and listen to the radio, hearing the chimes of Big Ben, in London, announcing the latest information on the conflict.

“It always gave us hope that help would come and that the war would end in our favor,” he exclaims.

Israel has always remained in the heart of Lowy, known for his philanthropic activities as well as a failed attempt to take over Bank Leumi. This episode ended in 2007 with an open investigation into an alleged intervention in the operation of then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Grieved throughout his life at never knowing what the fate of his father had been, Lowy was stunned when, 45 years after his disappearance, a stranger approached his son Peter, then living in California. , in 1991, and who had told him: “I was with your grandfather in Budapest” when the two men were arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz.

Peter had recounted what had happened to his father and Frank Lowy had taken the first flight to California to speak with the individual, who had told him that his father had been shot when he arrived in Auschwitz after refusing to give up his prayer shawl and tefillin.

“He couldn’t live without his Tallit and his tefillin,” adds a tearful Lowy.

After learning this information, Lowy had a wagon that was used to deport Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz restored as a place of remembrance and he inaugurated it at the camp in 2013 as part of the March of the Living. He was finally able to say the Kaddish prayer for his father that day.

Talking about his life, Lowy attributes his success to the fact that he never gave up in the face of adversity.

“The word ‘no’ was not created for me. I can’t even hear it. You always have to try again and again, ”he proclaims.