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

A Good ‘Holiday Read’
Meeting at Joseph’s Bookstore in Temple Fortune, we discussed Forever a Stranger by Linda Ferrer. It was a very good ‘holiday read’, with a surprise ending. The book to be discussed at our May meeting is Butterfly’s Shadow by Lee Langley.

Birmingham (West Midlands)

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

A Most Enjoyable Afternoon
Another most enjoyable afternoon spent at Birmingham Town Hall listening to Peter Donohoe deftly play Shostakovich and, in his encore, Mendelssohn, all beautifully accompanied by the Orchestra of the Swan. Thank you, Eva, for organising and so sorry you were unable to join us!

Brighton and Hove (Sarid)

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

Library Facilities on Offer
Ben King of Brighton Library Services told us about the projects currently run by the libraries - computing, exhibitions, creative writing, dancing and many others. He urged non-members to join the library of their choice and take advantage of the free cultural activities on offer.

Bristol and Bath

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

Beyond Right and Wrong
Due to building works our venue was changed to our speaker’s house, with Lisa Saffron kindly offering her home to our small gathering. Following a delicious lunch we watched an excerpt from the documentary Beyond Right and Wrong, which provoked a lively discussion.

Bromley Continental Friends

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

The Perfect Antidote
We met at Liane’s home for a delicious lunch provided by Hazel, who also told us about future AJR events. Debate, reminiscence and the warmth of companionship made our meeting the perfect antidote to winter’s chill and gloom.

Cambridge

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

Suitcase’ Sisters
Jane Merkin gave a moving talk about ‘Suitcase’, produced by her and written and directed by her sister Ros. The play was devised to reflect the experiences of Kindertransport children when they arrived in this country. One of these children was Jane and Ros’s mother Jo Hacker, who arrived from Vienna with her sisters, Paula and Melanie, in December 1938.

Cardiff

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

Inside Story of Parliamentary Grandees
We had a delightful, humorous and informative talk by Chris Moncrieff, former political editor of the Press Association, who had known and observed many of the grandees passing through Parliament including Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Harold Wilson and many other prime ministers, ministers and MPs.

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 Great Place to Live
Ealing historian Jonathan Oates spoke about the history of Ealing from the 15th century to the present day. In 1599, he said, the census showed 400 persons; by 1901, when the Municipal Borough and Walpole Park were created, there were 33,000. The first synagogue was founded in 1919. Everyone agreed Ealing was a great place to live!

Edgware

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

The Truly Indomitable Judith Montefiore
Judith Montefiore, David Barnett told us, was one of 10 children and home-schooled. She was fluent in several languages and an accomplished singer and musician. She and her husband travelled extensively, including a 4-month journey to Jerusalem. In her later years she wrote the first Jewish cookery book.

Essex

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

The Holocaust Education Trust (HET)
HET’s Karen Van Coevorden explained the work they do with government backing to educate children and their teachers about the Holocaust. Southend survivor Lesley Kleinman gives talks about his experiences in Auschwitz to two schools a week across the country, while former Kind Otto Deutsch, who saw Hitler in Vienna, also gives testimony.

Hampstead Garden Suburb

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

‘30 Years of Photography’
A fascinating talk by Paul Lang on the changes in wedding and barmitzvah photography over the years. With digital photography and technology, anything can be achieved.

Ilford

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

In Search of Jewish Ancestry
Although British-born, Anthony Joseph joined the AJR to honour a refugee who had been a close friend. This started his interest in genealogy and over the years he has traced his family on both sides back to the 17th century. A very unusual talk but full of interest.

Imperial Cafe War Veterans

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

Never a Dull Moment
Felix Frank brought along a beautiful photo album of pictures he had taken during the war. The men talked about having being paid one guinea a day and on leaving a £95 gratuity. The strongest currency was cigarettes. Harry Stanton proudly showed us his watch, bought for £5! Peter Wayne brought in an ID card, provoking a conversation about ‘friendly enemy aliens’. Never a dull moment.

Kensington & Notting Hill

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

New Group Formed
Among those present at our new group were two Second-Generation members, one of them with her First-Generation mother, and two First-Generation brothers. Having been invited by Hazel to introduce ourselves and share our histories since arriving in Britain, we broke up into informal chat. The allotted two hours passed very quickly and we didn’t manage to discuss the possible format of future meetings – such discussion will have to wait for the next gathering.

Kent

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

Favourite Poems
We read/recited a favourite poem, which led us to remember other favourites, and learned something of the lives of the poets. We thought it would be a good idea to do this again.

Kingston Continental Friends

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

Lively Chat, Delicious Tea
A lively chat and delicious tea at the home of Irene Gould. We all signed a card for Susan Zisman, who is recovering from a serious illness, sending her our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Marlow Continental Friends

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

Many Topics of Interest Discussed
We are fortunate in having a fixed venue for our meetings: the beautiful home of Alan Kaye, whom we thank for his hospitality. During the delicious lunch Hazel had prepared for us, we discussed many topics of interest, including the general election, the recent Israeli election, and the ‘Mediterranean boat people’.

Nightingale House

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

Small World
Two members of our group who had been living on the same floor at Nightingale hadn't previously realised that they both came to this country at the age of 15 and are both of the same age. Small world. Also, we talked about careers we have had.

North London

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

History of Chocolate
Chocolate has a history dating back to 900 AD. Initially the crushed beans (kibs) were mixed with chilli and vanilla, making a most unpalatable drink! Today’s chocolate is the result of much research, making it the smooth, shiny and delicious sweetmeat that is so popular worldwide. Professor Michael Spiro is a most eloquent and entertaining speaker.

North West London

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

Nutrition Demonstration
Nutrition therapist Sarah Walford demonstrated quinoa burgers and an aubergine cake. Along with delicious salad, her explanation of healthy and non-healthy food was most informative. A delicious meal and a welcome change.

Norwich (Norfolk)

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

Another Meeting with All the Right Ingredients
Another successful lunchtime meeting with all the right ingredients – from herring salad and rye bread to cheesecake. Frank gave the second instalment of his early life, from arriving in the Friedland slave-labour camp to returning to Prague after 22 eventful months. Many thanks to Kathryn and the ‘local ladies’ of the Synagogue for their help.

Nottingham (East Midlands)

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

Social Meeting over a Simple Lunch
We missed Esther, who was ill, and sent her our good wishes for a speedy recovery. We met as usual for a social meeting over one of Gerry’s simple lunches at the Nortons’ home. AJR social worker Kathryn Williams sorted out a few problems some members had.

Oxford

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

Amusing Stories
Meeting at Richmond Road Synagogue, we enjoyed coffee and cake and then listened to Chris Moncrieff, former Political Editor of the Press Association, who regaled us with amusing stories from his interesting career.

Pinner

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

Vanishing World of the Jewish East End
It was a particular pleasure to listen to London Guide Clive Bettington, who spoke about a wide spectrum of well-known individuals from the rapidly vanishing world of the Jewish East End, for instance Mark Gettler, Arnold Wesker, Lionel Bart, Charles Clore, Joe Loss and the Kray twins. Clive’s personal mission was to honour the memory of WWI poet Isaac Rosenberg.

Radlett

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

Cartoon Class
Martha Richler the cartoonist paid a second visit to our group, bringing some of her drawings. These were hilarious and very clever. Better still, however, was her attempt to teach us how to draw. This was not hugely successful but it did demonstrate her amazing wit and artistic skill. Please come again, Mart!

St John's Wood

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

The Two Savoys
Rob Lowe gave a wonderful talk about the history of the two Savoys - the Grand Hotel in London and the Savoy Theatre next door, where Gilbert and Sullivan operas were performed. We also heard the story of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, and Bob sang us an excerpt from H.M.S. Pinafore - an unexpected treat!

Surrey

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

Splendid Food and Convivial Company
We met at Susan Zisman’s lovely house to enjoy splendid food and convivial company. A most interesting account of Hazel and Esther’s trip to Warsaw kept us enraptured and memories of the past were invoked.

Welwyn Garden City

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

Lively Chat
It was good to return to Monica’s house for an afternoon social. We had a lively chat on many subjects, ranging from our experiences of the NHS to how supportive families are when old age beckons.

Wembley

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

‘Mishmash: A Walk through Jewish Trivia’
Kingston Synagogue member Tony Zendle gave a fascinating talk on ‘Jewish Trivia’, on which we learned some amazing facts on topics such as food, music, sport and entertainment. We all enjoyed tea and cakes afterwards.

Wessex (Bournemouth)

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

CEO Should Visit Again
AJR CEO Michael Newman updated us on important AJR news and answered many questions. Members were delighted with his visit and hope he will come again on a regular basis.