card game

 

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

A Special Garden Party
Sir Bernard Zissman, our guest at his first bench unveiling in the gardens of Andrew Cohen House, told us of other distinguished benches, including ones marking the Magna Carta and the Queen’s Jubilee. Our bench was given by Birmingham AJR members in memory of all the members and their families past and present who had suffered Nazi persecution. A truly special garden party.

Brighton and Hove

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

Sir Isaac Shoenberg, Engineer and Inventor
Lesley Urbach’s talk was about Sir Isaac Shoenberg, who came to the UK from Russia to further his studies. During the war he developed radar and he also worked for the BBC on the development of television. Lesley also showed a film about ‘MP for refugees’ Eleanor Rathbone.

Bristol and Bath

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

‘Forced Walks: Honouring Esther’
We met for a convivial lunch. Artists Lorna Brunstein and Richard White showed slides on ‘Forced Walks: Honouring Esther’. The walks commemorate the death march to Belsen, which Lorna’s mother survived, but the memory is still very powerful.

Bromley Continental Friends

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

Whoopee!
A fascinating talk by David Barnett about the amazing Lady Judith Montefiore was followed by a Rinkoff Lunch of equally astounding quality!!! Whoopee!

Cambridge

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

JP Justice of the Peace Not Jewish Princess
Susan Shaw JP took us behind the scenes to talk about JPs who work on a voluntary basis - overall, the most important characteristic they need may be empathy with people – and entertained us with amusing anecdotes. Carol Hart, AJR’s Head of Volunteer and Community Services, spoke about the AJR’s forthcoming 75th Anniversary Conference at JW3 and about free help with computers via SPF.

Card and Games Club

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

The More the Merrier!
We all enjoyed a deli lunch and games of Bridge, Scrabble, Kalooki and Rummikub followed. The number attending the AJR Games Afternoons is steadily increasing. The more the merrier! We hope this event will become a regular feature in the AJR calendar.

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

Underground Tour of London
Nick Dobson’s fascinating talk centred on stations: their origins and amazing statues and monuments such as Cleopatra’s Needle and the Kindertransport Memorial, situated just outside stations.

Edgware

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

‘Born Survivors’
Members were mesmerised as Eva Clarke told the story of her birth: she was born in Mauthausen death camp, three days before liberation. Yet she tells the story of her remarkable mother, Anka Bergman, as one of hope, courage and survival amid the Holocaust. Her story, along with those of two other survivors, is movingly told in Wendy Holden’s book ‘Born Survivors’.

Essex

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

Intimate Meeting
With our speaker Godfrey Gold indisposed, we had an intimate meeting: Esther talked about her holiday in Israel; Otto decsribed a visit to Southend by Disraeli; Miriam told a joke; Valerie spoke about her husband David, who was freed from Thereriesenstadt with my father Fiszel and Miriam’s first husband Emil by the Russians on VE Day; and I spoke about my newly born grandson Finley.

Ilford

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

‘My Knee Problem and the NHS’
Due to a technical problem, we were unable to see The Sturgeon Queen DVD so the history of smoked salmon will have to wait another day. Our members, ever resourceful, gave us a few amusing anecdotes but 95-year-old Edith Poulsen stole the show with a superb poem on her knee problem and the NHS.

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

Garden Party
We met in Judy and David de Haas’s idyllic garden in the heart of Holland Park. While the setting was the picture of a perfect English summer tea party, the conversation at times transported us to far-away places and to another era as members exchanged stories about their youth and how they came to be in England.

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

Celebrating Another Year of Friendship
At our 15th Annual Lunch, we had a good attendance, delicious food and a beautiful operatic performance by Kathleen Linton Ford. Group numbers are still going strong and we were happy to celebrate another year of friendship together.

North West London

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

Tackling Challenges in Israel
Ben Dov Salasnik of the UJIA told us about the constantly changing challenges, internal and external, facing Israeli society. The UJIA tackles poverty and the causes of poverty in Israel on the basis that it is better to give a man a fishing rod, which will last a lifetime, than a fish, which will last a day.

Norwich (Norfolk)

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

‘The Music Survives’
Peter Beschorner said his father Hans was brought up by a German couple and was a gifted classical pianist, but was taken to Dachau. After leaving Germany for England, Hans was taken in by the Quakers, opened his own school in Wiltshire, and fell victim to post-traumatic stress induced by his Dachau experience. He eventually recovered but had many ups and downs.

Nottingham

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

Meeting in Rural Leicestershire
Some 15 of us, meeting at the lovely home of Ruth and Jurgen Schwiening in rural Leicestershire, were given a delicious lunch and entertained by a small group of musicians who played and sang Jewish, Israeli and other music. We all appreciated the trouble our hosts had gone to. As usual, we were delighted to welcome the AJR’s Esther Rinkoff and Kathryn Williams.

Oxford

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

A Meeting with Local Author Marcus Ferrar
Local author Marcus Ferrar discussed two of his books. A Foot in Both Camps: A German Past for Better and for Worse is the story of his own upbringing: he has a German mother and a British father. The Budapest House: A Life Re-Discovered is the story of a Hungarian-Jewish woman who now lives in London. Both books resonated with the audience.

Pinner

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

‘Elstree: British Hollywood’
Bob Redman gave us a history of the Elstree film studios from their inception in the silent era through to modern times. The years have seen buildings going up, being demolished and replaced with new facilities as film production companies have come and gone.

Radlett

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

The Life of Sir Isaac Shoenberg
Meeting at the home of Alf Keiles, where we were treated to his wonderful hospitality, Lesley Urbach gave a most interesting presentation on the life of Sir Isaac Shoenberg and his enormous contribution to the invention of television. Lesley also showed us a short film about Eleanor Rathbone MP and discussed the work she did for refugees and, in particular, those held in the Huyton internment camp in Liverpool.

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

The City of London
City of London guide Elaine Wein showed us fabulous photos and told us fascinating facts about the square mile of the City of London. We heard about dragons, livery companies, Postman’s Park, the Guildhall and the very modern Walkie Talkie skyscraper. A treat!

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.