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

Tea, Biscuits and Enthusiasm
Our co-ordinator Esther wasn’t well but we held our meeting as usual. Our speaker didn’t turn up so we all took turns to speak, telling interesting stories about our first jobs. With tea and biscuits and some enthusiasm, it was a successful meeting.

Bristol and Bath

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

All Very Beautiful
Jane Hewison, daughter of member Hilla Hewison, showed us many slides of her work as an embroiderer, giving examples of traditional religious items. Her work is all very beautiful.

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

A Nice Change to Socialise and Chat
In the absence of a speaker we had a lovely discussion, talking about our most memorable days and telling funny stories. What a nice change to socialise and just chat.

Essex

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

History of Southend Synagogue
Derek Silverstone, formerly Vice-President of Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation, gave us a talk on our synagogue’s history. It came into existence in 1906 in a tin hut near Westcliff Railway Station with just a few members. Today, we have 650 family memberships and former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks came down to celebrate our centenary!

Hampstead Garden Suburb

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

A History of Paintings and Trains
Blue Badge Guide Mark King gave us a most informative account of Kenwood’s paintings and their history. However, we veered off the subject and got a history of the train stations in Hampstead and Highgate and learned how Hampstead Garden Suburb came to be built!

Ilford

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

Life in the Home Office
Leslie Sommer took us through his very varied career in the Home Office and told us many interesting anecdotes. It is Civil Service policy to move their staff around and due to this he became efficient in many subjects. He told us he had never experienced anti-Semitism in any of his jobs.

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

A High-End Lox and Herring Emporium
We loved the film The Sturgeon Queens, which tells the story of four generations of a Jewish immigrant family who create and run the New York-based Russ and Daughters, a high-end lox and herring emporium still very much thriving.

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

Visit to Warsaw
We met again at the home of Alan Kaye, to whom many thanks are due. Hazel had prepared a good Jewish lunch, enjoyed by all present. Among topics discussed was Hazel and Esther’s recent visit to the new, impressive Jewish museum in Warsaw.

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

Back to the Dorice
Tony Balazs and his cousin Charlotte spoke to us about Tony’s mother’s well-known Dorice Restaurant at 169a Finchleystrasse. Following a lively Q&A session, we had a lovely lunch, when it felt as if we had all been transported back in time and were eating in the Dorice once again.

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

Relatives in Israel Discovered
Esther talked to us about her recent visit to Israel, sparked off by a mysterious email purporting to come from an unknown relative. She eventually identified not only the sender but several other relatives previously unknown to her. This discovery led to her visit to Israel and she described vividly the joy that meeting these cousins gave her and her husband.

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

A Fascinating Life Story
Jane Greenfield gave a fascinating talk about her life - interesting on so many levels. Her father was a PoW near Treblinka and his wish to be a farmer originated there. His family then ran a dairy farm in England, where Jane happily milked cows, drove tractors and became a successful horse rider. A most enjoyable morning.

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.