Extracts from the Mar 2010 Journal

Past glories

The AJR Journal has always prided itself on the high quality of its literary, artistic and cultural content, including the reviews it publishes. Among the Jewish refugees from Hitler, with their rich cultural heritage, were a number of highly knowledgeable experts in various fields of culture, on whom the AJR Information was able to draw for the erudite and polished reviews of books, plays and films that graced its pages. But reviews are by their very nature ephemeral, and reviewers who delight one generation can all too easily be forgotten by the next. [more...]


The day of departure. We are leaving the country. My father is back from prison. He has served his sentence for criticising the race laws - in an ordinary prison within the city walls; it is still there. He has not been tortured. He has allowed himself to be humiliated but he has refused to obey an order to slap the face of another Jew. He survives to tell the tale. He has been saved by an officer, who knew him as a lawyer, and orders him to remain in prison on the day of his promised release. It is the day of Kristallnacht in Vienna. When my father finally comes home, the majority of his friends and colleagues have disappeared. [more...]

Surviving Christnukah

It’s nearly spring, and spring cleaning has produced a Chanukah card from the back of a drawer. I have no idea who sent it, but then the thought of Chanukah always gives me a bad conscience because I have ignored it all my life. I suppose I started off on the wrong foot by being put in the Catholic stream in my primary school. The error was soon discovered, but the priest was reluctant to let me go - I made such a bright little Catholic. But my father wouldn’t even let him borrow me pour encourager les autres: he was a godless Jew, an ardent Zionist, who annulled his baptism when he was old enough to realise what his well-meaning parents had considered a smart career move in imperial Austria. [more...]

‘The Legacy of Hope’

AJR service at Belsize Square Synagogue
Guest speaker Dr James Smith, Co-Founder of the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre, emphasised the value of such testimonies as the AJR’s Refugee Voices audiovisual project. At the time of the Holocaust, he said, ‘Ordinary people did not do enough. Governments did not do enough. We put barriers up, saying “It’s a Jewish problem!”’ [more...]

Letter from Israel

At a recent event entitled ‘Any Questions’, organised by the British Zionist Federation and the Israel, Britain and Commonwealth Association, a panel replied to questions submitted in advance by members of the 400-strong audience who had come to Jerusalem from all over Israel. [more...]

Letters to the Editor

[more ...]