by Charlotte Manassen
Crossing the Rubicon is a story of a Dutch-born Australian who cast off his European roots to begin a new life in Australia. Arriving in 1951 with the required £100 landing money, a family, an innate merchant flair and an indomitable will to succeed, he single-handedly built from the ground a business that laid the solid foundation for what has become the largest importing and marketing business of international food brands in Australia. Simon Manassen was born in 1920 in The Netherlands. His parents were Jewish wholesale and retail meat traders and being the firstborn son it was expected of Simon to follow in their footsteps. But fate intervened. In September 1939 World War II broke out. In May 1940 when Simon was 20 years old the Germans invaded Holland and the Nazi persecution of the Jews forced the family to go underground. Risking his own life, Simon was instrumental in securing the survival of his immediate family.