Leo Baeck 2


Extracts from the Aug 2001 Journal

The widening Atlantic

In the 1820s Foreign Secretary Canning looked to the New World – America – to counterbalance the Old. From the 1840s on, the United States absorbed Europe’s huddled masses yearning to be free, most famously the Irish fleeing the potato famine, and Jews fleeing Russian pogroms. In 1917/18, America became a global player and helped determine the outcome of the Great War. In the interwar years her retreat into isolationism crippled the League of Nations and triggered the Slump. Pearl Harbour brought a vacillating country into the Second World War and, ever since, Washington has played a preponderant – and largely beneficent – role in world affairs. The (flawed) elections of last November brought George Bush to the White House with an agenda that carried troubling echoes of 1930s isolationism. This agenda has since been modified by the pressure of events, for instance in the Middle East, where the new President felt obliged to dispatch the Director of the CIA. In other areas though – most notably the Kyoto Accord and arms control – President Bush has stubbornly ignored the views of his European allies. [more...]

Dark, satanic milltowns

Oldham and Burnley currently attract the media spotlight for two closely related reasons: simmering racial tension which occasionally flares into serious violence, and double-digit voting percentages achieved by the British National Party. The two Lancashire towns are in the general area where Engels collected material for the Marxist classic The Condition of the English Working Class (1844) and where, some decades earlier, William Blake had conjured up a nightmare vision of ‘dark satanic mills’. [more...]


‘From Kind to the House of Lords’

Guest speaker Lord Dubs recalled his experiences as a Kind arriving in England in 1939 from his native Prague. Despite an underprivileged childhood, Alf Dubs regarded himself as being among the more fortunate. [more...]

'Sorry’ is the hardest word

We live in an age of celebrity endorsement. Lady Thatcher was endorsed by the Spice Girls, and Tony Blair by Sir John Mills. One doesn’t want to sound snobbishly superior about showbiz personalities, but half a century ago ‘big names’ involved in political razzamataz were people of greater gravitas: none other than JB Priestley ‘facilitated’ Labour’s first landslide victory in 1945. [more...]

Anglo-Jewry and the Refugees from the Continent

Among the Jewish refugees from Hitler who came into contact with British Jews very early were those young women who had come to Britain as domestic servants – one of the categories of refugee to whom entry visas were most readily granted – and found themselves working in Anglo-Jewish homes. Astonishingly enough, this area has been almost completely ignored by the scholars who have worked on the Jewish refugees from Hitler in Britain. For example, Professor Tony Kushner’s powerful account of the plight of those who came to Britain on domestic permits, An Alien Occupation, contains one solitary sentence on the treatment endured by refugee domestics in Jewish households. To read Kushner, one would think that the ladies who mistreated their refugee servants were all gentile British and that none were Anglo-Jewish. This is plainly far from the case. On the contrary, it is obvious that many young refugee women would have been domestics in Anglo-Jewish households. Firstly, because such households would have been more likely than their gentile counterparts to take on Jewish refugee maidservants, out of a sense of duty and being better informed about the plight of the Jews under Nazi rule; and secondly because the refugee women, or their families who made arrangements for them, naturally often aimed for positions in Jewish homes. [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Details of the Holocaust era agreement involving two major international banks have been announced. [more...]

Crossed Lines?

THE BATTLE FOR AUSCHWITZ, Emma Klein, Vallentine Mitchell, 2001. [more...]

Profile: Professor Heinz Wolff

“I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t convinced I would do something with science, technology or engineering.” Even without seeing the playful bow-tie and absent-minded professor coiffure, few would mistake the voice of Professor Heinz Wolff, familiar to many from television series such as the Great Egg Race and Great Experiments Which Changed the World. [more...]

Six decades of ‘AJR Information’

In the first event marking AJR’s 60th Anniversary year, a unique gathering of scholars and senior members of the refugee generation met at London University’s Institute of Germanic Studies (IGS) to hear distinguished German-Jewish refugee academic Lord Moser reveal that his recent peerage was granted 65 years to the day after his arrival in Britain. “To have published AJR Information continuously for the best part of six decades is a remarkable achievement,” said Lord Moser, recalling the 1940s when his parents derived information, confidence and support from its pages. [more...]