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=”″] 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  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.’ ‘

“Stitch In Time” – Jewish News Features Memory Quilt Project

in December 2014 the London Jewish News featured the 45 Aid Society and Second Generation and the Memory Quilt project

SPECIAL REPORT: Stitches in time – ‘Memory quilt’ marks 70 years since Shoah liberation

December 26, 2014

The families of Shoah survivors are creating a ‘memory quilt’ to mark next year’s 70th anniversary of liberation.

Of the 1.5 million children who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust, only a tiny number survived.

Of that tiny number, Britain took in only a fraction after the war.

Mainly based up in the Lake District, this group of 732 children, who became known as “The Boys”, were resettled from orphanages in Eastern Europe.

About 80 of them were girls, and they formed a tight-knit group of friends, bonded by a terrible shared experience almost beyond imagination.

They formed the ‘45 Aid Society to provide support for each other and to campaign for other charitable causes.

Their harrowing story – of ghettos, concentration camps, death marches and hiding – has since been retold, by historian Sir Martin Gilbert, among others, in his book The Boys.

Now, to mark next year’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, the survivors’ descendants have launched an ambitious project to create a memory quilt, for every one of the 732 children, as an act of commemoration.

“Our parents have deputed to us the responsibility of guarding their testimony, bearing vicarious witness to their life stories and of remembering the lives that were destroyed,” said the Second Generation Group in a statement.

“To keep alive the memories of events from the Holocaust, people must be reminded of the facts.”

square 1 harry fox


Harry Fox” created by his wife, Annie. “My beloved husband never changed his name in any official sense, and still used Chaim Fuks. The words L’Chaim, ‘To life’ are there because he never ceased to choose life. No matter what setbacks he encountered, he never gave up.”


he team, including a newly-formed group of volunteers, are reaching out to the survivors and their descendants around the world, gathering together contributions and planning the display of the finished piece.

The memory quilt group has held workshops at Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon, where they meet to discuss ideas and the creative process with members of the second and third generation, who are making squares for their parents and grandparents.. “This is an important project to commemorate the lives of the survivors,” said Second Generation member Julia Burton.

“We are delighted to have recruited a team of volunteers, though Jewish Care, who have a passion for needlework and are able to help with some of the quilt squares.”

Derek Taylor,

‘Esther and Stan’, made by their daughter, Lorna Brunstein. “My square lists the stopping points of each of their journeys and features a photo of the Grand Palais Yiddish Theatre, a place of great significance to both of them, as it was where they first met”.

‘Abraham (ALF) Kirszberg’, made by his daughter, Elaine Blatt. The words and accompanying photos tell a lovely story.

‘Abraham (ALF) Kirszberg’, made by his daughter, Elaine Blatt. The words and accompanying photos tell a lovely story.

Since the project launch and a series of creative workshops, untold stories have been coming in from survivors and their families.

Organisers say these are “stories of miraculous survival through one of the darkest periods of human history, stories of bravery in overcoming hardships to rebuild lives and create strong families anew”.

square 7 Jan Goldberger

Left: Jan Goldberger made by his daughter, Cilla. Family members are represented as leaves on a tree, “illustrating how the family has grown and blossomed with our parents at the centre.” Right: Made by Holocaust survivor Hanka Ziegler Smith and her daughter, Thea Giardina. Center: Charles Shane made by his wife, Anita, who he married in 1950.

The survivors’ children hope that, by recounting their parents’ testimonies, lessons will be learned to benefit future generations.

“The memory quilt is going to be a powerful legacy for generations to come,” adds Julia.

The whole family met to develop the concept for a square to celebrate  the life of Josef Perl and Mandy, his daughter- in-law, then brought the concept of ‘a survivor’s story’ to life in words  and symbols.

The whole family met to develop the concept for a square to celebrate
the life of Josef Perl and Mandy, his daughter-
in-law, then brought the concept of ‘a survivor’s story’ to life in words
and symbols.


For details, or to help with the quilt creation, email second or visit


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Survivors’ Memory Quilt in London News

In January 2015 the Camden New Journal in London highlighted the work of the Second Generation of the 45 Aid Society and the Memory Quilt project. The article is reproduced below with a link to the original online version

FORUM: The memory quilt keeping Holocaust survivors’ stories alive

Published: 29 January, 2015

Hannah Gelbart’s mother and aunt, Rosalind Gelbart (left) and Julia Burton

Hannah Gelbart’s mother and aunt, Rosalind Gelbart (left) and Julia Burton, with the memory quilt

AS the world marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, a group of Holocaust survivors and their families are weaving their memories into a gigantic memory quilt.

The quilt is inspired by textile artist Sheree Charalampous and each survivor’s family is contributing a fabric square to the patchwork commemoration.

The survivors, many of whom are now in their 80s, along with their children and grandchildren, have attended workshops where they turn their stories and their memories into cloth quilt squares. The designs are beautiful: abstract paintings, charcoal drawings, photos stitched into the fabric and family trees made of felt, to name but a few. The squares are a celebration of survival in the face of adversity and of lives rebuilt in the UK.

Yet behind each of them linger memories of one of the most horrific massacres of mankind.

One of the survivors was my grandfather, David Herman, who lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb. He died in 2008, but was determined to leave his testimony. He wanted the world to have no doubt about what he had been through.

David was 12 when the war started. A year later, his hometown of Munkacs came under the rule of Nazi Germany. David and his family moved to the Jewish ghetto, sharing their apartment with 24 other people. Three years later, on a chilly spring day, an SS officer appeared at their door, giving them minutes to pack their bags before herding them to the station. Their destination: Auschwitz.

They didn’t know that yet. Instead, they believed what they were told, that they were headed east, to be resettled on new land. On arrival at the infamous death camp, they were met by SS officers who beat them brutally with sticks. David was separated from his family as his mother was led to one side. He never saw her again.

Hannah Gelbart, a West Hampstead freelance journalist and Cambridge modern languages graduate, and her grandfather David Herman

My grandfather lied about his age so many times during his lifetime that, when he died seven years ago, not even he could remember how old he was. It was one of those lies that saved his life.

In Auschwitz, women, the young, the elderly and the infirm were sent straight to the gas chambers. At the age of 16  David would have been too young to work. By saying he was 18, and that he had a trade, he was judged useful enough to live.

From Auschwitz, David was transferred to five more concentration camps. In Rhemsdorf, where he was brutally exploited as slave labour to produce petroleum for the German war effort, he was miraculously reunited with his younger brother, Abe, who had also survived Auschwitz. They managed to keep each other alive during their imprisonment, and on the bitter and painfully long death march to Theresienstadt. Here they were eventually liberated by the Russians in 1945. At the time David was suffering from typhus and weighed four-and-a-half stone.

After the war the British government agreed to receive up to 1,000 orphaned Jewish child survivors. But of the 1.5million children who suffered at the hands of the Nazis only 732 could be found to move to the UK as part of this initiative.

Another lie about his age was enough to reserve David’s place for a new future in England. All of the child survivors that came to the UK carried experiences of several death camps and some had survived the infamous death marches. They travelled from Prague and Munich to residential hostels in Britain to begin new lives.

Being mostly male, they came to be known as “The Boys”, even though about 80 of them were girls. Bonded by terrible shared experiences, and having lost their families in the Holocaust, they formed a tight-knit group.

Their stories have been told by historian Sir Martin Gilbert in his 1996 book The Boys.

Despite the hands they were dealt, The Boys thrived in the UK. Many went on to have large families and build successful businesses. My grandfather made fur coats and it was as a fashion designer that he met my grandmother, Olive, who modelled his designs.

The Boys were determined to support each other and give back to the community that received them after the war. They created their own charitable organisation called the ’45 Aid Society, raising money for refugee causes and Holocaust education.

Every year they hold an annual reunion in London to celebrate their survival and their friendship. It is here that the memory quilt will be unveiled in May, before starting its journey to many museums around the country and the world.

My grandfather’s story is one of many, but nowadays the number of survivors who can tell those stories first-hand is dwindling.

The memory quilt will keep those stories alive and gives us, the children and grandchildren of The Boys, another great story to tell.” ”

UK Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission Report

Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission Report

The Report from the UK Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission is now available.

Entitled: “Britain’s Promise to Remember.The Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission Report” it is available online. To read / download the Report, see link below

David Cameron’s speech on UK National Holocaust Commemoration day

To read UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on the occasion of the UK National Holocaust Commemoration event on 27 January 2015, click on the link below

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