Renate was born in Breslau, Germany in 1933.  In 1936 her parents left Nazi Germany for South Africa and settled in Johannesburg.  

 

She graduated from Wits University with a BA in Humanities and went on to become a teacher in Johannesburg. She married Bob Kamener in 1956 and sons Larry and Marty were born in 1959 and 1963 respectively.

 

Bob and Renate were active in the anti-apartheid movement and when some of their friends started getting arrested they migrated to Australia in 1965.

Renate taught English  at Swinburne Technical College in Hawthorn becoming the head of the Humanities Department. In the early 80's she left teaching and worked for a period as welfare officer for the Technical Teachers Union of Victoria. 

In the 1980's she was one of the  original members of the Australian Jewish Democratic Society, an organisation dedicated to dialogue with Palestinians and creating peace in the region. she went on to become its deputy President.

In the late 90's she founded Salaam-Shalom, a Muslim-Jewish women's group that promoted dialogue across the two religions. In 2008 she received a Community Services Award for services to multiculturalism.

 

She passed away on 12 March 2009

Click here for the full text of her eulogy