During March, there are 5 lectures being given at the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC). These unique events will be of real interest to many of us and the details are as follows:
7th March: “Polish & Jewish Relations During World War II” – Professor Anthony Polonski 12th March: The annual Leonard G. Montefiore lecture entitled “1942, 70 years later” – William Tyler [NOTE: This lecture starts at 7:45 pm].
14th March: “Polish & Jewish Relations Since World War II” – Professor Anthony Polonski
21st March: “Polish & Jewish Relations A Personal Perspective” Ben Helfgott
28th March: “Polish & Jewish Relations Into The 21st Century” Kate Gerrard
Each of the above lectures is due to start at 7:30 pm and are likely to finish approximately around 9:00 pm to 9:30 pm, with the exception of the Montefiore lecture as noted above.
The address of the LJCC is as follows: London Jewish Cultural Centre 94-96 North End Road London, NW11 7SX Tel: 020 8457 5000 The normal entrance fee for these lectures is £15 BUT for members of the ’45 Aid Society will only have to pay £5.” ”
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.
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 email@example.com for further details” ”
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.’ ‘
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.’ ‘
The talk starts at 7pm and is at Henrietta Barnet School Central Square Hampstead Garden Suburb NW11 7BN.’ ‘
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
by HANNAH GELBART
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.” ”
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
Response from 45 Aid Society Holocaust Survivors and Second & Third Generation – May, 2014
BACKGROUND TO 45 AID SOCIETY/SECOND GENERATION:
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 COMMISSION – SOME 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/).
- 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
- 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.
On behalf of the 45 Aid Society Holocaust Survivors/Second & Third Generation
London, May 2014” ”
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