Extracts from the Oct 2001 Journal

The Last Decade

Cast your minds back to 1987. Mrs Thatcher seemed the lessee of 10 Downing Street in perpetuity, and the Iron Curtain was bisecting Europe. Meanwhile, in my interview for the editorship of AJR Information, I was asked if I could commit myself to the job for ten years. (After fourteen years I still wear the green eyeshade, while AJR members have demonstrated their commitment by instantly snapping up all the tickets for the 60th anniversary event at the Grosvenor House Hotel). [more...]

Charlatan Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan is a homophobe misogynist black supremacist who notoriously called Hitler a ‘great man’. He heads the Nation of Islam – a name which, on closer inspection, makes total logical nonsense. Islam is a worldwide religion whose identification with any one nation would undercut its universal message. Nor do US Blacks (now designated ‘Afro-Americans’) constitute a separate nation – otherwise how could Colin Powell be US President Bush’s Secretary of State? Neither is it conceivable to equate the 20-odd million Afro-Americans with Mohammedanism. It is Christianity, and more precisely the Southern Baptist Church which, in addition to serving as the matrix for Black leaders like Martin Luther King, Black writers like James Baldwin and Black artists like Mahalia Jackson, still provides the spiritual home for the bulk of the community. [more...]


Criticism has been directed at Israel over its so-called ‘assassination policy’. This is a misnomer since the dictionary definition of to assassinate is ‘to murder a public or political figure.’ The Israeli Defence Force has never contemplated killing Arafat. What it aims to do is to decapitate a hydra-headed snake to pre-empt its next poisonous strike. The term assassination, being a form of murder, carries pejorative undertones in most people’s minds. This is a wrong and stereotypical connotation. When Brutus killed Caesar he viewed it as an act of tyrannicide. The same applied to Georg Elser’s attempt to blow up Hitler at Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller in November 1939. [more...]

Survival and identity

Jonathan Sacks
Harper Collins, 2001. [more...]

A tale of ‘bloody refijees’

Zvi Jagendorf, Dewi Lewis, 2001. [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

The Government of the Czech Republic and the Federation for Jewish Communities in Prague have together created the Endowment Fund for Victims of the Holocaust (EFVH). [more...]

Sixty years on – the diamond jubilee of the AJR

In October 1942, about a year after the founding of the AJR, a letter to the Foreign Office from the Aliens Department of the Home Office gives what is probably the earliest account in any Whitehall document of the fledgling organisation. “Object: To be responsible for the Jewish Refugee Community in London and the country. The Association does not serve any particular Jewish group or party. The Committee includes Orthodox and Liberal Jews, Zionists and non-Zionists. The Association has no desire to duplicate the work of existing refugee committees. It wishes to co-operate with them in trying to find constructive solutions to questions concerning refugee life.” [more...]

'Settling down in England'

Claus Moser, distinguished academic, civil servant, aesthete and former German-Jewish refugee, reminisced on his 65 years in Britain as the keynote speaker at a joint Sussex University, London University and AJR symposium on the value to historical scholarship of six decades of the publication of AJR Information. [more...]

AJR Information – a ten year digest

A cross section of extracts in the 50th anniversary celebration edition of AJR Information provided an insight into the events and issues which had affected the lives of AJR members over the previous fifty years. Issues ranging from politics, economics, history and culture, to the downright domestic came together as pieces in a jigsaw to create a picture of a thriving community, its interests and concerns. The last ten years also yield a snapshot, albeit of a different nature.

February 1991

The pundits who pooh-poohed comparisons between Saddam Hussein and Hitler were wrong. As controller of the Gulf’s oil reserves, possessor of nuclear weapons and manipulator of the Islamic multitude, Hussein could inflict worldwide damage. His strongest affinity with Hitler, however, lies in his murderous designs on the four million Jews in Israel.

June 1991

More than a hundred guests attended the official opening ceremony of Balint House, the Otto Schiff Housing Association’s new residential home in the Bishop’s Avenue. Special tribute was paid to the Paul Balint and Andrew Balint Charitable Trusts, whose most generous donations to the Appeal Fund, complementing the Housing Corporation’s subsidy, had helped to realise the completion of the new home.

June 1992

The Berlin Senate invited former pupils of Jewish schools after 1933 to a World Reunion in March 1992. Over 240 attended, including spouses or children, and were accommodated in three hotels according to their former schools.

October 1993

It would have taken a brave man indeed to hazard a forecast about the September signing on the White House lawn. How much braver are Rabin and Peres - and even Arafat – in their endeavours to reverse a blood-suffused tide that has been flowing for close on a century.

December 1993

German Jewry is currently split with the national leadership approving, and the local community objecting to, Berlin’s brand new War Memorial. A memorial that brackets murdered Jews together with fallen German soldiers as “victims of war” fails to differentiate between genuine victims and – however reluctant – perpetrators.

March 1994

The Vatican’s recognition of Israel is a milestone, for all that it comes 45 years after the birth of the Jewish State. It is a further step on the road towards acceptance of Israel as a ‘normal’ country by the comity of nations.

July 1994

At the 1994 AGM, Mr Theo Marx paid tribute to Dr Werner Rosenstock, who was the first General Secretary of the AJR and became the founding editor of AJR Information in 1946, in which post he remained for 36 years. As a formal and permanent record of Dr Rosenstock’s work an inscribed brass plate will be affixed in the AJR’s new offices in Hampstead Gate.

June 1995

Historically significant identity cards which were issued to more than 9,000 children, forced to flee Nazi Germany without their parents, have been rediscovered by archivists working for the Central British Fund for World Jewish Relief.

April 1996

Steven Spielberg is donating the entire proceeds from the film Schindler’s List to the historical documentation called the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Between now and the end of 1997, world wide interviews with survivors will be conducted.

September 1996

In a ceremony near Kielce, Poland’s Prime Minister apologised for the 1946 pogrom in which 45 Jewish survivors of Nazi concentration camps, who returned to their native town, were butchered

August 1997

AJR Chairman Andrew Kaufman announced the establishment of an AJR Research Centre for the collection of Holocaust-related materials, to be situated at Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre in Nottinghamshire.

February 1998

The AJR has reached an agreement with World Jewish Relief accepting responsibility for the welfare of some 80 needy former victims of Nazi persecution currently receiving assistance from WJR’s Jewish Refugee Committee. They originate from Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Hungary.

March 1999

As a permanent reminder of the children who came to Britain on the Kindertransports before the war, and as a token of gratitude to the British people and Parliament of the time, World Jewish Relief has commissioned a sculpture, to be erected on a prominent site in London in the year 2000.

June 1999

The 60th anniversary Reunion of Kindertransports was an event steeped in poignancy. A staggering twelve hundred septuagenarians - out of the original ten thousand Kinder - came from America, Australia, Israel and Britain to a venue not far from Bloomsbury House.

March 2000

A new archive and research unit for the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex was opened by its Chancellor, Lord Attenborough, who stressed the significance of the department’s historical research and its value as an important resource for the University.

June 2000

Britain’s first permanent Holocaust Museum opens this month in a specially created wing of the Imperial War Museum. As well as being a strong educational tool, the exhibition also serves as a tribute and memorial to the millions of victims of National Socialism.

September 2000

The German authorities have agreed to establish a compensation fund of £3.2 billion for distribution to surviving slave and forced labourers who worked for the Third Reich.

March 2001

As its contribution to the first Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom, the AJR sponsored and initiated events on the campuses of the University of Sussex and Imperial College, London, altogether reaching some 2,000 students.

July 2001

The Polish President is to apologise formally for the massacre of Jedwabne’s Jews on the occasion of the 60th anniversary massacre in July this year. The monument blaming the Nazis is to be replaced with a new monument. [link]

Profile: Fred Durst

Born in Munich in 1924, Manfred was the second child of a printer, Bernard Durst, who had migrated from Galicia, and his wife Paula who came from a very orthodox family. Part of the city’s 8,000-strong Jewish community, he and his sister Ilse, older by two years, lived in a kosher home, went to Synagogue and attended weekly Hebrew classes. Though the family were of modest means, they enjoyed a very happy childhood, but sadly, when he was just ten, his mother died. [more...]