Extracts from the Jan 2006 Journal

The AJR Journal sixty years on

A historical retrospective

Sixty years ago this month, AJR Information first appeared. That first issue, with its poor-quality paper and blurred print, now seems like a window onto a different world. But the grey and battered Britain of the post-war austerity years was also the Britain in which the Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria settled - their adopted homeland. To read the early issues of the journal is to rediscover the history of the AJR's founding years. [more...]

Making a New Life: Holocaust survivors and photographs

Some years ago I was wandering around a junk shop in Ontario when I was brought up with a start by a tray of old photographs. They were nineteenth-century portraits of ladies in full-length dresses with bustles and hats with gentlemen in suits with a variety of then fashionable headgear and children dressed like dolls. A label encouraged customers to 'Create your own ancestors!' I was shocked. What were they doing? These were real people with real identities. How dare they mislead and distort the truth. As time has passed, another response has enveloped me. There were so many displaced people in this country, uprooted from their place of birth, from their own families, from their own heritage. The appeal was to something deeper within the human psyche. The need to be part of a family, to feel part of a continuum, to have a past and a future. Was there really something wrong in people creating a myth to sustain them in a foreign land? [more...]

'Making a Difference': Holocaust Memorial Day, January 2006

As reported in last month's Journal, the final preparations for Holocaust Memorial Day 2006 are now being made. With its theme 'One person can make a difference', this national commemoration, due to enter its sixth year, aims to ensure that the crimes of the Holocaust are neither forgotten nor repeated. [more...]

Austrial General Settlement Fund: A step closer

In a ruling last November, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the last Holocaust-era class action brought against the Austrian government for the appropriation of Jewish-owned assets during the Holocaust. At the time of going to press, it appears that one of the final obstacles preventing the distribution of payments from the General Settlement Fund (GSF) has been cleared, setting the stage for the release of $210 million under the terms of the Washington Agreement of 2001. [more...]

Albert Einstein, Man of the Century (review)

Polymath, Renaissance Man, scientific genius, humanist, secular Zionist, family man, musician, biker and sailor. How many more adjectives can define the indefinable man of the twentieth century - Albert Einstein? He is hardly the stuff of contemporary portraiture, but then consider his extraordinary features, those mournful bulldog eyes, the Chaplinesque moustache beneath an enormous nose, and the hair like a flying buttress bearing comparison with his equally hirsute contemporary, David Ben-Gurion. [more...]

Letter from Israel

A few weeks ago, together with my sisters and other relatives, I visited Hamburg, the city where my ancestors had lived for many generations until exiled by the Nazis. We were there to attend the presentation of the book Aber seid alle beruhigt, which contains letters written by my grandmother before she was deported from Hamburg in 1942. [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Programme for former slave and forced labourers

According to the German Foundation law, the last day on which payments in respect of slave and forced labour from the German Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future may be made to eligible persons is 20 September 2006. Individuals eligible for payment include: [more...]