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Extracts from the Jan 2002 Journal

My country, wrong or wrong

Since the 1980s Britain has sent its servicemen into five areas of conflict: the Falklands, the Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. In each instance, the government’s actions were strenuously opposed by a vociferous anti-war lobby – which is par for the course in a democracy. Nonetheless, the uncomfortable truth that in so doing the ‘peaceniks’ played into the hands of Messrs Galtieri, Saddam Hussein, Karadzic, Milosevic, Mullah Omar and bin Laden ought not to be swept under the carpet. [more...]

Bradford: verdict on multiculturalism

Throughout the nineteenth century the industrial north attracted immigrants – Irish, Germans, Jews – to this country. The absorption of these newcomers was often beset with difficulties. In North and South Mrs Gaskell describes the tension between Irish immigrants and striking Lancashire textile workers; over half a century later Louis Golden depicted the invisible iron curtain separating Jews and Gentiles living on opposite sides of Magnolia Street. [more...]

Susi Bechhöfer: lost identity

At just three years of age, Susi Bechhöfer and her twin sister Lotte were sent to Britain on the Kindertransport from the Jewish children’s home in Munich, where their unmarried mother lived. Soon after their arrival at Liverpool Street Station in May 1939, they were packed off to the home of a childless Baptist minister and his wife in North Wales and contact with their Jewish origins was lost for the next half-century. The twins were provided with a new Christian identity: Susi became Grace and Lotte became Eunice. They were still known as ‘the German girls’ and no doubt retained traces of a continental accent.

Rediscovery

At a well attended KT-AJR lunch meeting, Susi Bechhöfer spoke of her journey of rediscovery. “I am one of you,” she began, keen to compare her experiences with those of other Kinder. She had always felt a “deep void” within her, not knowing who she really was. As time passed, her memory faded and the twins’ origins were never discussed. However, when registering for GCE examinations at the age of 16, she was told her real name for the first time, and became determined to hold on to it. [more...]

Jewish life in Leipzig

In 1933 Leipzig had Germany’s sixth-largest Jewish community. Now the Jews’ contribution to the economic, cultural and social development of Leipzig has been largely forgotten. In particular, the younger generation is unaware of the city’s Jewish history, but there is a significant and growing interest in this subject. [more...]

Contentious scholarship

Divided Jerusalem
Bernard Wasserstein,
Profile Books, 2001 [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

German pension increase

All those recognised as victims of Nazi persecution under the provisions of the German compensation law – known as BEG – may now be entitled to an increase in their German retirement pension (Altersrente). This follows a change in the way social security laws are interpreted in Germany as a result of growing pressures in recent years. The new ruling has resulted in most cases in considerable increases to existing pensions. [more...]

Berlin to Auschwitz by pedal power

Erich Reich, a Kindertransportee and a member of AJR’s Management Committee, organised and participated in a sponsored bicycle ride from Berlin to Auschwitz with 20 others, many of them children of survivors, including his nephew and grand-niece. [more...]