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Rupert Neudeck – Cap Anamur

(by Heiko Koenig, German Lutheran Trinity Church)

On June 2nd the German Lutheran Trinity Church in East Melbourne (a VCC Member Church) was able to celebrate a memorial service for the initiator and founder of Cap Anamur, Rupert Neudeck, together with the Vietnamese community. The memorial service was well attended.

In the late 1970s, Rupert Neudeck did not close his eyes to the suffering of the Vietnamese boat people. At first he had no money, no ship and no experience with international shipping. But he was able to get the ball rolling and was ultimately able to rescue over 10,000 Vietnamese refugees from the sea with the ship Cap Anamur.

Many of these refugees came to Australia. Two of the people who were rescued by Cap Anamur attended the church service.

A greeting from the Cap Anamur Society ( came from Germany, which was able to be read out during the service.

Marc, whose mother was rescued from Cap Anamur, also spoke.

In his welcoming speech, the President of the Vietnamese Community in Victoria, Duy Quang Nguyen, spoke of the reprisals by the new rulers in Vietnam, the suffering of the refugees and the difficulties of making a new start in Australia.

The word “boat refugee” (boat people) is repeatedly misused by Australian politicians for their own purposes.

After the service, many of the members of the Vietnamese community present took the opportunity to take a photo together with Rupert Neudeck’s picture in the church.

The Vietnamese guests spared no effort in providing for the refreshments after the service. The whole congregation was treated to Vietnamese delicacies.

Everyone made the most of the time for conversation.

And many expressed the hope that the service would be repeated in 2025.