Continental Friends

There follow reports from recent get-togethers.

For information about meetings email Susan Harrod - susan@ajr.org.uk

Southern Groups

AJR Book Club

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Lovely Afternoon
Quite spontaneously we came to talk about how each of us came to this country and our experiences from then on. Serious but also funny stories. A lovely afternoon.

AJR Film Club

for further information, contact susan@ajr.org.uk

Nowhere in Africa
Meeting in Whetstone, 25 Film Club members enjoyed Nowhere in Africa, expertly introduced by Martin Aaron. The film is based on Stefanie Zweig’s autobiography, in which she recounts her family’s flight from Nazi Breslau to Kenya, where hankerings after the lost German life and marital tensions are set in beautiful landscapes.

Birmingham

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Bright Company and Delicious Food
We met on a grey wet June day but the company was bright and the food, as always, delicious - compliments to the catering staff at Andrew Cohen House and to Lesser’s for keeping us all together.

Brighton and Hove

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Jews in the Arab World
Harif’ founder Lynn Julius showed a film about Jews in Muslim countries over the centuries. She highlighted the violent dispossession in Iraq and the loss of life in many pogroms, especially during and after the Holocaust. No acknowledgement of guilt had been made or reparations paid to the survivors, Lynn said.

Bristol and Bath

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

In Memory of Sir Nicholas
Barbara Winton gave a wonderful talk about her father. She was particularly proud to show everyone the Post Office stamps recently issued in his name. We had a particularly large attendance as details of the meeting had been circulated throughout the Bristol community.

Bromley Continental Friends

for further information, contact susan@ajr.org.uk

Lianne Better and Looking Forward to the Next Meeting
We met again in the lovely comfort of Lianne’s home but sadly Lianne was unable to be there due to illness. However, her daughter Laura was kind enough to host the afternoon, at which no less than four members of the second generation were present, allowing tea and conversation to flow. We wish Lianne better and look forward to the next meeting.

Cambridge

for further information, contact eva@ajr.org.uk

Women in Jewish Religious Life
Louise Heilbron told us that the first women rabbi, Regina Jonas, was ordained in Germany in 1935. Forty years later, Jackie Tabick was ordained as the first woman rabbi in the UK. Being ordained was one thing, but finding a pulpit another. There remained resistance to appointing women to the job of rabbi as the role was deemed incompatible with a woman’s family duties. By the 70s much had changed, women rabbis having become accepted and respected.

Card and Games Club

for further information, contact susan@ajr.org.uk

Enjoying the Fun Plus the Hospitality of AJR Staff
After a light lunch, including delicious Rinkoff cakes, we adjourned to do battle at Bridge, Scrabble and Backgammon. We would like to see more members at our next meeting so they can enjoy the fun and the usual great hospitality of the AJR staff.

Cardiff

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Churchill’s Secret Army
We had another pleasant lunch followed by a screening of Churchill’s Secret Army, which depicts the eventual acceptance of German and Austrian Jewish refugees who wished to serve in the British Army after having been classified as ‘enemy aliens’. They served their country with great courage.

Child Survivors Association

for further information, contact susan@ajr.org.uk

'Why is Hebrew Written Backwards?'
Dr Martin Stern answered the question ‘Why do you write Hebrew backwards?’ and was assisted by members of the audience. Diversions led also to the roots of a number of English-language words - neither Latin nor Greek but Phoenician/Hebrew. Dorothy’s cakes were a delight for the palate.

Ealing

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Source of Inspiration
Eva Clarke, who was born in a concentration camp towards the end of the war, talked about her family and, in particular, her amazing mother. Her mother, who survived three camps, overcoming terrible situations, came to England in the late 40s and lived to a great age, being a source of inspiration to Eva and her children and grandchildren.

Edgware

for further information, contact eva@ajr.org.uk

Women Rabbis
We very much enjoyed Louise Heilbron’s talk tracing the history of women rabbis from the very first, Fraulein Rabiner Regina Jonas, ordained in Germany some 80 years ago. There had been many female Bible scholars, Jewish as well as Anglican, who wanted to become rabbis and vicars respectively but couldn’t be ordained. There was discrimination and exclusion until the 20th Century and the first woman rabbi’s ordination in the UK in 1975 preceded the first Anglican ordination by 20 years.

Essex

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Stimulating Day
Southchurch Hall was most interesting and the guide gave us lots of history about the hall and some English mediaeval explanations. A stimulating day in great company. Thank you, AJR.

Hampstead Garden Suburb

for further information, contact susan@ajr.org.uk

A Well Behaved Discussion
Eva facilitated an animated and well behaved discussion on the EU referendum. Hortense brought photos of her life from toddler to cook/maid, marriage, training as a nurse and ‘nurse of the year’. Details of forthcoming days out and other attractive events were circulated. Thank you, Eva.

Ilford

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

A Very Happy Day
Michelle Mandel explained how the Six Point Foundation was in a position to give AJR members the benefit of a computer and showed us how it would work. There were many untutored but eager faces keen to learn this modern way of making contact with all and sundry. A very happy day for us all.

Imperial Cafe War Veterans

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Inspiring Meetings
We met probably for the last time in the format of monthly meetings, with the proposal to meet again at the end of the year. On this occasion, we discussed ‘Brexit’, with most of us still confused! These meetings have been inspiring over the years and I feel honoured to have heard all the different stories of wartime heroism recounted.

Kensington & Notting Hill

for further information, contact eva@ajr.org.uk

Visit to Israel Recounted in Glowing Terms
We met once again at Ruth and Peter Krauss’s lovely home. David De Haas told us about his and his wife Judy’s recent visit to Israel, describing the country and its achievements in glowing terms. Peter Wayne recommended the specially adapted easy-to-use computers supplied by SPF Connect.

Kent

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

‘We’ll Meet Again …’
We met for lunch at the Nutmeg Restaurant to discuss the future of this small group. It was amazing to hear from Inge Hack how, after her struggle to come here from Nuremberg, her son had been successful in obtaining a First from Cambridge. ‘We'll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day …!’

Kingston & Surrey

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Tea and Planning
Members met at the beautiful home of Susan Zisman, who put on a fabulous tea. We discussed plans for the rest of the year with a September date now in the diary. A huge thank you to Susan for being a great hostess.

Marlow Continental Friends

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Painful Memories
Meeting at the home of Alan Kaye, we exchanged reminiscences about our families’ backgrounds. Many of us regretted not asking our parents/grandparents about their history - and most of them didn’t want to disclose the painful memories of their refugee experiences anyway. It was also interesting to find out how we all ended up in deepest Berkshire/Buckinghamshire!

North London

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Herbert Morrison and the Jews
We appreciated Lesley Urbach’s polished, well researched and original talk on the attitude of Labour leader Herbert Morrison to Nazi antisemitism and the fascists in the UK in the 1930s. His favourable attitude to Jews was not, she told us, matched by any wartime actions on behalf of Jews.

North West London

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

IDF Volunteer
Michael Myers told us about his time with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). He volunteered to spend two weeks last year in Israel on a scheme organised by Sar-El (Service for Israel), under the direction of the Israeli Army Logistics corps. Only 2.5 per cent of the volunteers for this very worthwhile task come from the UK. Michael has volunteered again to return later this year.

Norwich (Norfolk)

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Walking through Germany
Phyllida Scrivens, author of the recently published biography of our member Joe Stirling, told us about his walking through Germany and into Holland as a very young boy in the hope of ending up in England. Eventually he had to return home to start on his journey to these shores via the Kindertransport. Phyllida also told us about the people he met here who helped him towards a successful life.

Nottingham

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

A Nice Social Afternoon Meeting
Some 17 members from three counties came along and we had a nice social afternoon meeting. We very much missed Esther Rinkoff but welcomed Kathryn, our AJR Social Worker. The venue and a very nice lunch were generously provided by the son and daughter-in-law of a member.

Oxford

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

WWI Battlefields
Meeting at the home of Suzie and John Bates, I talked about my April trip to the WWI battlefields in France and Belgium, showing photos of the cemeteries and monuments I had seen. We discussed the bizarre fact that many members had relatives who had fought for Germany in WWI and had been honoured for bravery, yet had faced the horrors of WWII 20 years later.

Pinner

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

The Cairo Genizah
An enthusiastic expert told us about the Cairo Genizah, the world’s largest and most important collection of mediaeval Jewish manuscripts, which is now housed at Cambridge University. It consists of some 200,000 items, which are slowly being restored, deciphered, translated and correlated. It brings to life the Cairo community as it includes not only religious texts but also such mundane things as bills and personal letters.

Radlett

for further information, contact esther@ajr.org.uk

Jews in the Arab World
Little is known of the fate of the Jewish population in North Africa at the time of the Holocaust. Lynn Julius told us that anti-Jewish feelings were fanned by Nazi propaganda and heightened by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Jews in the Middle East and North Africa suffered greatly. More than 100 concentration camps were set up, where many died. Thousands of Jews were sent to Europe as slave labourers. Things would have been much worse but for the British victory at El Alamein and the expulsion of German troops from North Africa by the Allies. A sombre talk of very great interest.

Welwyn Garden City

for further information, contact eva@ajr.org.uk

Helping Members to Use Computers
We were welcomed once again in Monica’s lovely home and treated to her generous hospitality. On this occasion, we were joined by Claude Vecht-Wolf, the AJR’s Computer Co-ordinator, as well as by a lovely sixth-form pupil from JCoSS, Danielle, who was on a week’s work experience with the AJR. Sam Ostro told her how he came to be a refugee in WGC and Claude explained how the SPF Connect Programme was designed to help survivors and refugees who find using computers difficult.

Wembley

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

Connect Programme Easy-to-Use
Michelle Mendall told members about how Six Point Foundation came into being and explained the Connect programme, showing members how simple and easy-to-use it is.

Wessex (Bournemouth)

for further information, contact kathryn@ajr.org.uk

‘The First Lady of British Jewry’
Lady Judith Montefiore (1784-1862), David Barnett told us, has been described as ‘the first lady of British Jewry’. She was unusually well educated in languages, music and the domestic arts and wrote the first Jewish cookery book – a sort of Jewish Mrs Beeton. After her marriage to the wealthy and influential Sir Moses Montefiore, she threw herself into his many philanthropic enterprises and travelled extensively with him to countries including Russia and the Holy Land.