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Blaubaum, Eric (1885–1916)

Although we know that every day – nay, every hour – of the past two years of world-shattering war the instruments of death have been exacting their dreadful tribute, it is only when the fatal shaft alights within our own circle that we distinctly realise how pervadingly the earth is filled with the sorrow of bereavement. The latest of those whose death on the battle-field brings keenly home to us the meaning and purport of the strife in which mankind is involved, is Private Eric Blaubaum, who was killed in action in France on the 3rd of this month. He belonged to a family intimately identified with our community, for he was the third son of the late Rev. E Blaubaum, for many years the highly respected minister of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, and also the valued editor of this journal. Faithful to the traditions in which he had been brought up, Eric Blaubaum was one of those who freely offered themselves for the good cause, and fell honourably, a brave Jewish soldier, fighting for King and Country, for justice and civilisation.

Private Eric Blaubaum was born in St Kilda, and was educated at Wesley College, which he entered on gaining a Scholarship, and where he remained until he matriculated. On leaving the college he entered the firm of MacMurtrie and Co., and served with them both in their Melbourne and Brisbane warehouses. As the Brisbane climate did not altogether agree with him, he accepted a position with Michaelis, Hallenstein and Co., of Dunedin. He improved so rapidly in health that he could not withstand his country's call, and enlisted last October in the Otago Infantry. He sailed from Wellington in January, and after spending a few weeks in Egypt he was moved to France, where he met his untimely death. He was always very popular, and will be remembered by his many friends for his kindly and genial nature. His youngest brother, Captain Ivan Blaubaum, is now serving in France with the AMC; and another brother, Corporal Otto Blaubaum (Field Artillery), is in camp at Maribyrnong, and will shortly leave for the front.

Last Sabbath at the St Kilda Synagogue, the Rev. J Danglow, MA, delivered an impressive memorial address, which greatly moved the assembled congregation, among whom were several members of the deceased's family. He dwelt upon the close connection of the fallen hero with the congregation, of which his father had been the spiritual guide for more than thirty years. Within the precincts of the synagogue Eric Blaubaum had his birth; as a member of the choir he had officiated in that house of worship, and there he celebrated his Barmitzvah. While they all deeply grieved that his life was cut off in the flower of his youth, it was no small consolation to reflect that he had accomplished one of the noblest duties that it fell to man's lot to perform – he gave up his all for a high and earthly ideal. Though departed from this earthly life, he was not dead, for the influences and lessons of his patriotic self-sacrifice would always remain with us vivid and imperishable.

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'Blaubaum, Eric (1885–1916)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/blaubaum-eric-23153/text32396, accessed 23 July 2019.

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