Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Commits 60 Years to Volunteering


79-year-old Vivienne Levin selflessly volunteers her time at the Holocaust Institute of WA to ensure WA’s next generations of students learn from the tragedy.

Vivienne Levin discovered the joy of volunteering when she was young. Now aged 80, Vivienne has been almost continually active as a volunteer in some regard for the past 6-years, helping all ages from students to mature women. During this time, she has also worked full-time in a number of positions and raised three sons with her husband.

What has driven Vivienne to volunteer for such a long time? A passion for her culture and community, and a genuine desire to make a difference. What she enjoys most about volunteering is “working in a team and being able to give back to the community without any agenda for [herself].”

When her children were in school, Vivienne become an inaugural member of the Parents and Friends Committee for Carmel School (where her children attended), helping to keep them safe and improve their school experience. Later on, Vivienne recognised the need for funding for students who could not afford school equipment and excursions, and established Parents and Friends for Habonim Dror, where she volunteered for four years. Parents and Friends for Habonim Dror is an over-hours Jewish youth movement, not run by the school, which ensures students are given equal opportunity at school through funding. She also educated the parents of students who were planning to study overseas, helping them understand what to expect from the experience, what possessions to take, and the costs involved. This group still functions today and provides excellent leadership training and skills the students take with them for the rest of their lives.

Vivienne has spent decades volunteering for the Holocaust Institute of WA. The sheer time commitment is a testament to Vivienne’s generosity, but equally as important is the passion and care she has poured into the role. She first got involved after a trip to Europe to follow her family roots, during which she came to the realisation that it was important to teach the next generation about this period of time, ensuring the tragedy is not forgotten. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, this matter is close to Vivienne’s heart. She has been volunteering as a tour guide at the Holocaust Institute of WA ever since, presenting the Holocaust story to Year 11-12 students at WA secondary schools as part of their history curriculum.

When asked what inspires her to volunteer with the Holocaust Institute, Vivienne said “sharing the message of ‘never again’ must we allow this to happen to innocent people.”

In 2016 when the Holocaust Institute of WA established an offshoot program, Courage to Care, Vivienne quickly undertook the study and training needed to become a presenter. Courage to Care aims to educate students about the dangers of prejudice and racism through workshops for both adults and students. Vivienne has been volunteering as a Day Supervisor for sessions held for Year 10 students since the program first rolled out in WA. Her volunteering efforts in this space not only teaches young Western Australians about history, but also helps them to understand and challenge discrimination. A key focus of the program is applying the Holocaust story to everyday life, encouraging children to take action when they encounter bullying, or undertaking small acts of kindness as many Europeans did for Jewish families during World War II. “Showing your moral compass is an abiding essence that runs through these sessions,” says Vivienne.

Furthermore, Vivienne is a volunteered for WIZO Aviva, a not-for-profit organisation raising money for women, children and the elderly of all denominations in Israel. She has worked within WIZO for over 60 years and still continues to do so when possible, which is an incredible accomplishment. She’s had many roles over the years from Group President to Education Chairperson as well as State President for seven years.

Vivienne Levin is an inspiration to her family and to the community. Volunteering WA wishes to thank and commend Vivienne for the incredible impact she has made throughout her 60 years volunteering.