Committed Zionist, community worker and Yiddishist, Aron Nirens was born in Warsaw in 1902, the only son of textile worker Moishe Nirens and his wife Mindl. His early education was in a traditional Cheder and primary school. To improve his fortunes and in search of a better life, Aron left Warsaw for Paris in 1923. It was in Paris that Aron became active in Jewish causes and Yiddish life. He worked for the “Society Israelites de Paris” and helped to establish a Jewish Children’s Clinic and a Jewish soup kitchen for German and Austrian Jewish refugees. He also immersed himself in the Yiddish world that Paris offered in the interwar period.
With the threat of war imminent in Europe, Aron decided to leave Paris. Able to prove that he was financially independent, he was able to secure visas to Australia. Together with his wife Sara and their four small children, Maurice, Marie, Simon and George, he arrived in Melbourne on 21 August 1939. The Nirens family were met at the boat by representatives of Jewish Welfare. The family were to make their home in Elwood. Within two days of arriving, Aron opened a factory in Goldy’s Place. He later established “Nirens Knitwear” in Thornbury.
Aron’s commitment to Jewish communal life and Yiddish culture saw him become active in a number of organisations. He was a committee member of the Kadimah and served as its Treasurer in 1946 and again in 1948 and 1949. Between 1944 and 1946, he was a Board member of the Overseas Jewish Relief Fund. His firm belief in Yiddish education saw him pioneer the Sholem Aleichem Yiddish Sunday School where he served as President for 16 years. He worked tirelessly for the French/Belgium Jewish Association that raised funds for Blind Children in Israel. In addition, he was a communal fundraiser for JNF and UIA.
Aron Nirens died suddenly in 1965 at the age of 63.
Source: Questionnaire completed by Marie Hirsh (daughter).