State Library honours almost-perfect knight
From: The Australian Jewish News, Friday, 25 January 2002.
In 1977, Jewish community member Ben Haneman donated 2000 copies of Don Quixote – the gallant knight who fought mythical enemies – to the NSW State Library. The private collection was reputed to be the third-largest in the world of the translations and works of Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, and last week the library paid tribute to Mr Haneman for his contribution to the public arena.
About 100 close friends and relatives attended the memorial gathering in the library’s Glassroom Café to honour Mr Haneman, who died last month.
Described as “a retired consultant physician, bibliophile and joke-master”, Mr Haneman was also a member of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and a regular contributor to the Australian Jewish News book page.
The library is working to establish a memorial project in his name, but the form it will take is yet to be decided. However, “it will be in keeping with Ben’s wonderful, multi-faceted personality and will fit in with his interests”, said Rosemary Block, the library’s curator of Oral History. [See details now in the editorial of this Biblionews. Ed.] “Ben Haneman wore his scholarship lightly – a rare gift – but he took his jokes seriously,” Ms Block said. “We have lost a brave, witty, gentle and almost perfect knight.”
Other speakers at the ceremony included Mr Haneman’s son, Peter Haneman, Dr David Badham, Dr George Wilson, Susan Tompkins, Frank Casadesus and Brenda Heagney. [And, Biblionews readers, your editor jumped to his feet when the opportunity for impromptu tributes was offered and set the record straight about Ben’s contribution to the BCSA, which had not and would not otherwise have been mentioned at all.]