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 Lively and Enjoyable Meeting
We had a really lively and enjoyable time when we met at Joseph’s Bookstore. Our next book is Kelli Estes’s The Girl Who Wrote in Silk. As the conversation is so varied, do come even if you haven’t read the book!

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

Recalling WWII
Joined by Ben, a student eager to learn from our members about WWII, we had a discussion on, among many other subjects, the circumstances leading up to the war, Kristallnacht, the camps, and the Exodus journey to Palestine. This being our last meeting prior to Rosh Hashanah, Esther brought not only cake but also apple and honey.

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

As Time Flows By
A lively gathering on the hottest September day in Lianne’s lovely home. Conversation flowed: Israel, Ireland and Australia to name but a few countries visited and discussed. Time flew by. Welcome to new member Gerda Alum and good to catch up with the regulars. We can’t wait to meet again.

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

AJR Update
Michael Newman described the excellent work of the AJR, now celebrating its 75th anniversary. He gave such an interesting survey of the work done by the AJR that there was a rapid response from members and a lively discussion ensued. A most successful visit.

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

Forerunner of the Modern Department Store
David Barnett gave us a fascinating account of E. Moses & Son, one of the most famous businesses in London in the 19th Century. The firm was a pioneer in the sale of ready-made clothing and expanded to cover all household goods. It can be regarded as the forerunner of the modern department store.

Edgware

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

UJIA Support for Israel
Harvey Bratt spoke about UJIA (United Jewish Israel Appeal), which provides support, education and training for the development of deprived areas in the Galilee. UJIA believes young people are crucial to the future of Israel and organises annual youth visits to Israel.

Essex

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

‘How To Be Happy’
The ‘other’ Peter Jones was our guest speaker on ‘How To Be Happy’. He kept us entertained even though his first wife died shortly after they married. Everyone knows the expression ‘As happy as Larry’ and this Peter Jones epitomises the saying.

Ilford

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

Historic Work
Peter Hedderley gave us a resume of his involvement in the various ‘Winton Train’ anniversaries. Peter is not Jewish so his enthusiastic support in recalling the Winton evacuation is quite remarkable. We thank him for his historic work over many years.

Imperial Cafe War Veterans

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

Please Can We Meet Again?
Lord Eden kindly hosted us in the comfort of his officers’ mess with, among other things, delicious rugelach made by his wife Joy. Much was discussed, including the locations of our soldiers on D-Day and VE Day and, with regard to Brexit, children requesting their parents’ original nationality. A lovely morning – please can we meet again?

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.

Kingston & Surrey

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

‘Dazzling Daliahs’
Appropriately for a hot summer’s day, Nick Dobson entertained us with his ’Dazzling Daliahs’ talk. These magnificent flowers love the sun and are the most intelligent of all plants. The range of colours, shapes and sizes is amazing. The talk led on to one of Susan Zisman’s wonderful teas.

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

Jews of Jamaica
Henry Cohn gave a truly fascinating talk on a subject of which we had no prior knowledge. We learned that Jews first arrived in Jamaica in the 16th Century to escape persecution in Portugal and Spain. Later there were immigrations from other European countries and in the 20th Century from Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Now, the population has dwindled due to emigration to the USA and Canada. There is only one synagogue, no rabbi and the future of the community of about 200 is looking decidedly uncertain.

North West London

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

Operation Thunderbolt
Professor Saul David gave one of the best talks for a long time on his book Operation Thunderbolt, which describes the rescue by IDF special forces of some 80 hijacked Israelis from Entebbe, Uganda. The operation was a great success but sadly the commander, Col Yoni Netanyahu, was killed in the operation.

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

Origins of ‘SWAG’ et al
What is the origin of the expression ‘Rule of thumb’ or ‘Robbing Peter to pay Paul’? Did you know that ‘SWAG’ is an acronym of ‘Sold without a guarantee’? Julian Romain entertained and educated a group of nearly 40 AJR members and friends with the origins of a wide range of similar expressions. He is an official City of London guide and an amusing speaker.

Radlett

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

Refugee Films
We had a very stimulating talk by Sharon Portner, a film producer who has made a number of short films on Jewish refugees in this country. She wanted to hear our response to her idea of making films of refugees being interviewed by their grandchildren rather than by, for instance, a journalist – the discussion resulted in no conclusive view. Unusually, the meeting ended with a short recital on violin and cello given by two of our host’s grandchildren.

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

‘Winton Children’
Peter Hedderly, who works in the travel industry and has special expertise in trains, showed a fascinating film about Sir Nicholas Winton and the children he rescued from Czechoslovakia. Peter, who has met many of the ‘Winton children’, feels it is very important that these things should not be forgotten.

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.