Annual Reunion 2012

The 67th Annual Reunion of the 45 Aid Society took place on Sunday 6th May 2012. Over 230 people attended the event which included Lord Greville Janner among the guests.

Following the Reception, guests were treated to the showing of a new short film charting the story of the Boys. The film, a tribute to The Boys by the Second Generaton, has recently been updated by Maurice Helfgott and further developed with new material from new sources and with information from recent projects.

[button href=”http://vimeo.com/42193290″] View film tribute to The Boys as shown at 2012 Reunion[/button]

Ben Helfgott MBE, Chair of the 45 Aid Society, who has recently been awarded an honorary doctorate, opened the speeches. Ben presented Lord Janner with a leatherbound copy of Martin Gilbert’s ‘The Boys’, signed by many of the Boys present and their families.

Following on from Lord Janner, Mark Perl spoke on behalf of the Second Generation. Mark has recently worked with the Holocaust Education Trust to develop his father’s story to tell in schools. He spoke movingly about schoolchildren’s responses to his story and highlighted the importance of personalising the events of the Holocaust to bring it home to future generations as numbers of survivors diminish.

The evening’s speeches were concluded by Mr Vivian Wineman, Chair of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The evening was a tremendous success and an opportunity for friends and families to meet.

This year’s 45 Aid Journal will be available do download from the website shortly, along with photos of the evening.” ”

Reunion 2011

The’ 45 Aid Society’ together with the 2nd Generation Committee held their annual reunion dinner on Sunday 8th May 2011. It was was a huge success.

Photos of the event click here: Photo Album – Reunion – 8 May 2001

The evening was attended by 260 people made up of survivors, second and third generation and other friends and family.  The room looked beautiful and the food was delicious.

The loyal toasts of the evening were made by 2nd Generation members, Angela Cohen and Alan Greenberg.

The speeches were opened by the president of the Society, Mr Ben Helfgott followed by the British Ambassador to Israel, Mr Matthew Gould.  A member of the 2nd Generation, Mr Colin Lester, made a very memorable speech (to read his speech To read the speech, please download the 45 Society reunion speech 2011). The President of the Board of Deputies Mr Vivian Wineman was the final speaker.

The evening, which was filled with much warmth and love, was concluded by a yiddish sing song led by singer, Gwendolen Burton.’ ‘

New North London Synagogue

oman Halter together with his daughter Aviva have designed, made and installed two stained-glass windows in the newly built New North Londn Synagogue.  On Satuday 28th May at 9.30am Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg will conduct a special service where he will speak about the newly built synagogue and Roman and Aviva will speak about the two stained glass windows.  1st, 2nd and 3rd generation are all invited.. Please confirm by the end of March 2011.’ ‘

International Tracing Service

The ITS (International Tracing Service) has recently allowed access to over 50m documents from the war which were previously unavailable. The HSVRC is currently catalogueing and documenting them with the hope that eventually they will be available to be searched on the internet. ntil this service is fully available, they are providing specific assistance in searching for holocaust victims by surviving relatives. You can fill in a form on line as follows:

To submit research requests of the type you describe below, please visit the Research Request page at http://itsrequest.ushmm.org/its/getting_started.php.  There is no fee for this service.

This is a fantastic new service available to all 2nd Gen as a direct descendant of a holocaust survivor.’ ‘

67th Annual Reunion Dinner

The ’45 Aid Society Annual Dinner will be held on Sunday 6th May 2012 at the same venue as last year, the Holiday Inn, Carburton Street (near Regent’s Park), London W1W 5EE.  There will be entertainment and a guest speaker.  The ticket price for the event is at the same level of £50 per head.  For those wishing to obtain tickets email Ros Gelbart.’ ‘

2014 Annual Reunion

The 2014 Annual Reunion was held on Sunday 4th May at the Holiday Inn, Carburton Street, London

It was a hugely successful evening.’ ‘

UK Holocaust Commission – Our response

On 30 May 2014, the 45 Aid Society Holocaust Survivors and 2nd & 3rd Generation members submitted a formal letter to the UK Government’s Holocaust Commission in response to the request for input on the future approach to Holocaust teaching and Commemoration in the UK.  The response we submitted is provided in full below

 

HOLOCAUST COMMISSION

Response from 45 Aid Society Holocaust Survivors and Second & Third Generation – May, 2014

BACKGROUND TO 45 AID SOCIETY/SECOND GENERATION:   

https://45aid.org/ 

Of the very few Jews that survived the death camps, slave camps and death marches of Hitler’s Reich, sixty nine years ago, 732 of those survivors, most of them boys, about eighty of them girls, made the journey to Britain.  They travelled under the auspices of the Central British Fund, a Jewish organisation that had been active in helping refugees since the rise of Hitler in1933.

What this particular group of orphan refugees had in common, apart from their wartime experiences, was the journey they made together.  In the months and years that followed other Holocaust survivors joined them from across Europe, all needing a new start to life.

In 1963, the ‘Boys’ set up their own ‘45 Aid Society – Holocaust Survivors’ – a charitable organisation, named after the year they first came to Britain. Their mission has been to remember those who were lost; to help their members who needed help; to teach the lessons of the Holocaust; to spread the message of tolerance; and to help others more widely.

The 45 Aid Society has remained proudly independent, operating solely as a voluntary organisation without professional administration

As second and third generation we have joined with our parents and grandparents to continue their mission today and in to the future.

RESPONSE TO THE COMMISSIONSOME SUGGESTED PRINCIPLES:

We have respect for, and gratitude to, the Prime Minister and HM Government for taking Holocaust teaching and commemoration seriously, and for establishing this Commission.   We are proud citizens – proud of Britain’s long history as a liberal, democratic nation, that courageously fought the Nazis and champions tolerance and the rule of law – and proud Jews, following in our traditions, close to our community and integrated in society.

We fully endorse the importance of the Prime Minister’s goal for the Commission:   “to make sure we learn the lessons of the dreadful events that happened” and to ensure that  “in 50 years’ time, in 2064, when a young British Christian child or a young British Muslim child or a young British Jewish child wants to learn about the Holocaust, and we as a country want them to learn about the Holocaust … it is as vibrant and strong a memory as it is today, with all of you ‘Survivors’ standing here in this room”.

We are familiar with much of the material the experts will submit to the Commission and therefore will not it repeat in this submission, offering, instead, a number of principles we hold dear that we would ask the Commission to consider:


Suggested Principles forConsideration:

  1. Please don’t confuse the ‘universal’ and the ‘particular’.  The Holocaust was a unique historical event in a particular place and time. It has universal and timeless lessons for humanity.  Historical and other comparisons made to illustrate universal lessons – or still less, to score political points – denigrate the memory of the victims, as well as undermine the message.
  2. Take the long view.  The Commission might study the historiography of the Holocaust before finalising its conclusions.  The way the history of the Holocaust has been studied and taught, and the attitudes toward it, have evolved rapidly over just 70 years, and inevitably will continue to do so.  Accuracy and integrity must take priority over empathy and engagement: because only truth can last.
  3. Personal stories can bridge the gap between history and statistics – and engagement and understanding. Testimonies of the victims of Nazi persecution can and should be brought to life.  Specifically we, as Holocaust survivors and second and third generation, can play a role in contributing to understanding. Explaining:“this happened to me/to my mother/to my grandfather” can be powerful and persuasive.
  4.  Teaching teachers and society’s role models is a priority. The Holocaust and its meaning is not a superficial subject. Teachers should benefit from the continual preparation and depth of understanding required to teach and answer questions from a position of knowledge and confidence.
  5.  Great Britain played a vital role in defeating Nazism, and, led by its Jewish community, welcomed Jewish refugees before the war, and survivors after it.  Without propaganda or bombast, Britain’s role and values should be positively recognised.
  6.  Grass roots initiatives are important as well as centralised ones. A balanced spread of Holocaust education, commemorative events, memorials and museums, should continue to develop. Top down AND bottom up.  Just one example, close to our particular hearts, is the wonderful exhibition that has captured local imagination in the Windermere Public Library. Originated and staffed by local volunteers, it tells the story of 300 of the “the Boys” who came to the “paradise” that was the Lake District after their liberation in 1945  (http://www.anotherspace.org.uk/a2a/).
  7.  There is already a lot going on – increased transparency and communication, as well as co-operation. An independent, comprehensive, dedicated and well resourced website, mapping and helping access all resources and activities should come up first for online search
  8.  Mind our Language. We should take care not to forget that the victims of Nazi persecution that suffered the greatest loss were those who did not survive.  In recent times the term “Survivor” has evolved from applying to those who who were caught up in Nazi-occupied Europe after September 1st 1939, to a looser definition, for example including refugees who left before the beginning of the war and, sometimes, modern Jewish communities in this generation who assert “we are all survivors too”.

As Holocaust survivors who endured the death camps, slave camps and death marches of Hitler’s Reich, we respectfully ask that the term ‘survivor’ be used carefully and appropriately.  This is not because we believe that the term should imply ‘automatic status’ or ‘the pinnacle in a hierarchal classification of suffering’.  The losses and suffering of each victim of Nazi persecution is individual and not for comparison. Each testimony is valid and equally valued.   We do, however, believe that for our great grandchildren to remember the victims and learn the lessons in 2064, and 2164, and 2264, historical accuracy and careful use of language must prevail.

For the record, as children and grandchildren of survivors, the second and third generation, we categorically do not regard ourselves as survivors and we reject absolutely the notion that we are victims.

Maurice Helfgott

On behalf of the 45 Aid Society Holocaust Survivors/Second & Third Generation

London, May 2014” ”

Memory Quilt Project – Dates and Plans

To mark 2015, the 70th Year Anniversary of the Liberation of the Camps, the 2nd & 3rd Generation group is creating Memory Quilt in which every one of “The Boys” is commemorated.  The finished Memory Quilt will be displayed as a wall hanging. The London Jewish Museum is the first museum that has agreed to exhibit the Memory Quilt when finished.

We are asking each Survivor’s family to create something special to represent some aspect of the 45 Aid Survivor in your family.  The chosen theme might be: ‘Who am I?’ or include personal memories. It may be a significant object, a picture, a photo, or something that represents family or other achievements in the last 69 years, such as ‘My Journey’ or ‘My Legacy’.

We really hope each Survivor’s family, children and grandchildren, can join in on this creative journey.

Need Help?

Contact us to discuss your ideas and to get help from the creative team who are here to help.

Final Submission date is now 28 February 2015 

Please send us your finished square by the 28 February 2015 to give us time to put the Quilt together before the 70th AnniversaryReunion on 3 May 2015 in London.

Contact Julia Burton on Julia@Burton.net or Rosalind Gelbart rosgelbart@gmail.com for further details” ”