Extracts from the Dec 2008 Journal

‘Underpaid, underfed and overworked’: Refugees in domestic service

Last month’s front-page article was devoted to the Jewish refugees who came to Britain on Kindertransports. Far less attention has been focused on another group of refugees, who were admitted to Britain for menial purposes and whose image does not tug at the public heartstrings as does that of the rescued children: the thousands of Jews from Germany and Austria, predominantly women, who were admitted to Britain as domestic servants. Many of them were young women barely older than the Kindertransportees. [more...]

Uncle Max

I have been trimming the family tree as a leaving present for my sons. It brings home to me that there is now no one left to ask who was who. My father, who had an orderly mind and an interest in genealogy, left me a sketch of the trunk and main branches. What the tree does not reveal is where the skeletons are buried (we maintained a regular ossuary), but it shows how the family has shrunk with the passage of time. The tree stands upside down, with the branches getting shorter as we approach the present. And another thing: we are losing distinction. Each generation appears a little drabber than the one preceding it. If you wanted to read about my grandfathers, you’d look in the great newspapers of New York, Berlin and Vienna. If you wanted to read about my mother, you’d be safe with any biography of Sigmund Freud. If you want to know about me, you need to google back issues of the AJR Journal - a steepish downward slope for which emigration and decimation cannot be held solely responsible. We’ve run out of personalities. The generation of my mother’s parents was stuffed with characters, worthies and rogues. [more...]

Christmas in Vienna, 1937

Christmas. Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day. I am eight years old and I quiver between dread and delight. I know what will happen because it happens every year. Dr Richter from the next-door apartment will come to take me to see the enormous tree which has been brought into their dining room and decorated with silver tinsel and silver balls and silver candle holders and white candles. [more...]

In memory of Kristallnacht (review)

Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, conductor John Axelrod
The Barbican, London [more...]

AJR Report

70th anniversary of Kristallnacht
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the AJR sponsored a special ceremony, organised by Liberal Judaism, at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood, London, on 9 November. The service included special readings and music sung by a combined choir of voices from Liberal Judaism synagogues. [more...]

Letter from Israel: Kristallnacht memorial project

A few months ago I was put in contact with an organisation in Jerusalem called the Synagogue Memorial Organisation. It is engaged in preparing a volume or volumes in English which will commemorate all the Jewish communities of Germany which were attacked and destroyed in what is known as Kristallnacht, the pogrom of 9-10 November 1938. The Synagogue Memorial Organisation estimates that there were over 1,500 such communities. [more...]

Letters to the Editor

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