Oct 2001 Journal
AJR Information – a ten year digest
A cross section of extracts in the 50th anniversary celebration edition of AJR Information provided an insight into the events and issues which had affected the lives of AJR members over the previous fifty years. Issues ranging from politics, economics, history and culture, to the downright domestic came together as pieces in a jigsaw to create a picture of a thriving community, its interests and concerns. The last ten years also yield a snapshot, albeit of a different nature.
The pundits who pooh-poohed comparisons between Saddam Hussein and Hitler were wrong. As controller of the Gulf’s oil reserves, possessor of nuclear weapons and manipulator of the Islamic multitude, Hussein could inflict worldwide damage. His strongest affinity with Hitler, however, lies in his murderous designs on the four million Jews in Israel.
More than a hundred guests attended the official opening ceremony of Balint House, the Otto Schiff Housing Association’s new residential home in the Bishop’s Avenue. Special tribute was paid to the Paul Balint and Andrew Balint Charitable Trusts, whose most generous donations to the Appeal Fund, complementing the Housing Corporation’s subsidy, had helped to realise the completion of the new home.
The Berlin Senate invited former pupils of Jewish schools after 1933 to a World Reunion in March 1992. Over 240 attended, including spouses or children, and were accommodated in three hotels according to their former schools.
It would have taken a brave man indeed to hazard a forecast about the September signing on the White House lawn. How much braver are Rabin and Peres - and even Arafat – in their endeavours to reverse a blood-suffused tide that has been flowing for close on a century.
German Jewry is currently split with the national leadership approving, and the local community objecting to, Berlin’s brand new War Memorial. A memorial that brackets murdered Jews together with fallen German soldiers as “victims of war” fails to differentiate between genuine victims and – however reluctant – perpetrators.
The Vatican’s recognition of Israel is a milestone, for all that it comes 45 years after the birth of the Jewish State. It is a further step on the road towards acceptance of Israel as a ‘normal’ country by the comity of nations.
At the 1994 AGM, Mr Theo Marx paid tribute to Dr Werner Rosenstock, who was the first General Secretary of the AJR and became the founding editor of AJR Information in 1946, in which post he remained for 36 years. As a formal and permanent record of Dr Rosenstock’s work an inscribed brass plate will be affixed in the AJR’s new offices in Hampstead Gate.
Historically significant identity cards which were issued to more than 9,000 children, forced to flee Nazi Germany without their parents, have been rediscovered by archivists working for the Central British Fund for World Jewish Relief.
Steven Spielberg is donating the entire proceeds from the film Schindler’s List to the historical documentation called the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Between now and the end of 1997, world wide interviews with survivors will be conducted.
In a ceremony near Kielce, Poland’s Prime Minister apologised for the 1946 pogrom in which 45 Jewish survivors of Nazi concentration camps, who returned to their native town, were butchered
AJR Chairman Andrew Kaufman announced the establishment of an AJR Research Centre for the collection of Holocaust-related materials, to be situated at Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre in Nottinghamshire.
The AJR has reached an agreement with World Jewish Relief accepting responsibility for the welfare of some 80 needy former victims of Nazi persecution currently receiving assistance from WJR’s Jewish Refugee Committee. They originate from Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Hungary.
As a permanent reminder of the children who came to Britain on the Kindertransports before the war, and as a token of gratitude to the British people and Parliament of the time, World Jewish Relief has commissioned a sculpture, to be erected on a prominent site in London in the year 2000.
The 60th anniversary Reunion of Kindertransports was an event steeped in poignancy. A staggering twelve hundred septuagenarians - out of the original ten thousand Kinder - came from America, Australia, Israel and Britain to a venue not far from Bloomsbury House.
A new archive and research unit for the Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex was opened by its Chancellor, Lord Attenborough, who stressed the significance of the department’s historical research and its value as an important resource for the University.
Britain’s first permanent Holocaust Museum opens this month in a specially created wing of the Imperial War Museum. As well as being a strong educational tool, the exhibition also serves as a tribute and memorial to the millions of victims of National Socialism.
The German authorities have agreed to establish a compensation fund of £3.2 billion for distribution to surviving slave and forced labourers who worked for the Third Reich.
As its contribution to the first Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom, the AJR sponsored and initiated events on the campuses of the University of Sussex and Imperial College, London, altogether reaching some 2,000 students.
The Polish President is to apologise formally for the massacre of Jedwabne’s Jews on the occasion of the 60th anniversary massacre in July this year. The monument blaming the Nazis is to be replaced with a new monument.