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 Popular Choice
Meeting at Joseph’s Bookstore in London’s Temple Fortune district, we discussed the novel Butterfly’s Shadow by Lee Langley, which was enjoyed by all. Our next book is Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, which has had very good reviews and is very different from our usual choice.

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

Residents of Ostrawa
Members enjoyed a delicious deli lunch with rye bread, salmon and other goodies. David Lawson presented his fascinating talk about residents of Ostrawa. He had done detailed research and it was especially interesting to see how descendants of the original individuals had fared, and particularly gratifying to note how large the families had become and how much they had achieved.

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

Female Flyers
Paul Lang gave us a fascinating talk about the part played by women in aviation. He began with an account of the early pioneers such as Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart, continued with the key role played by women during WWII - flying aircraft from factories to airfields - and ending with the situation in the last 20 years, which has seen women become pilots of commercial airlines as well as space travellers.

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

From Obscurity to Lord Chief Justice
We had a very intimate meeting with the very knowledgeable Godfrey Gould on the life of Rufus Isaacs. Rufus, born in 1860, was a Sephardi of Dutch descent who rose from obscurity to the position of Lord Chief Justice, which aroused anti-Semitic feelings.

Hampstead Garden Suburb

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

History of the Wiener Library
The Wiener Library’s Katy Jackson gave us a most informative and interesting account of the history of the Library. Along with all the plans for the future, her PowerPoint presentation was quite remarkable. Facts and figures are still being updated. The Library now provides an incredible online service with an interactive map of the world on which one can pinpoint a town and obtain a family history.

Ilford

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

‘Mishmash: A Walk through Jewish Trivia’
Another session of nostalgia, this time from Tony Zendle, who gave us a talk on ‘Jewish Trivia’, which included clips from old films, all fondly remembered, as well as amusing trifles to astound us. An unusual but - as always - very pleasant morning.

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

‘London and the Wine Trade’
Debbie Pearson talked to us on the subject ‘London and the Wine Trade’ as it has developed over the past decades. One has to say that the talk was largely historical – although we were given a chance of a taster, red or white ….

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

Home Office Insights
Leslie Sommer gave us insights into his posts in the Home Office including Prison Service (parole, deportation), Fire Service (Green Goddess during strike), and Coroner’s Office (disabled access). Leslie observed the precept that a good civil servant should listen well and get on with everybody.

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 Kaiser's Jewish Soldiers’
Dr Toby Simpson, Learning and Engagement Manager at the Wiener Library, gave a very interesting talk entitled ‘The Kaiser’s Jewish Soldiers’. We also heard about the history of the Library, where this story is well documented, and about its founder, Dr Alfred Wiener.

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 Man of Principle?
Lesley Urbach spoke to us about the political and personal life of Herbert Morrison, on whom she has just completed her Masters degree. Morrison, whose father was a policeman and who lost an eye in an accident as a child, was responsible for the evacuation of children from London during the Blitz. One of his daughters married Peter Mandelson. Morrison was described as a man of principle but, as we learned, his principles changed like the wind!

Wembley

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

Special Chocolate Tasting For Research Purposes …
We were treated to a talk, including some fascinating scientific facts, by Professor Michael Spiro on the history of chocolate, with a special tasting – for research purposes of course! This was followed by tea and cakes ….

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.