Teenager first to set up war graves website

Daniel Levy: launching website

Daniel Levy: launching website

A website that will eventually contain details of all the Jewish servicemen and women who gave their lives in two world wars goes live this week – and it has all been created by a teenager.

Daniel Levy's interest in war graves was sparked during a visit to France four years ago with his scout group. The youngster was struck by the number of Jewish graves they came across.

He returned the following year with his father to seek out more graves but with little success. Daniel, now 16 and a pupil at Yavneh College in Borehamwood, realised that there was no central record of the location of the graves of fallen Jewish soldiers.

"I felt there was something missing, that people had no idea where their relatives might have ended up," said Daniel, who lives with his family in Edgware. "So I decided to start a catalogue of all the Jewish people who had died fighting and then put it all on the web. That way people visiting an area could find the graves and also add more names over time."

He decided to set up a database containing the location of every Jewish grave and put all the information on a website that goes live this week, to coincide with Armistice Day.

"I regard this as an open-ended project. I have started with World War II and then I will go on to World War I."

Daniel has been working closely with the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, whose executive director Jacques Weisser paid tribute to Daniel.

"He is a remarkable young man and he has created something quite amazing," said Mr Weisser. "He has put his heart and soul into this project and it will be of great value to many people. It has been his idea and we are delighted that he has undertaken something that will be of huge value to many people."

Mr Weisser pointed out that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission does not identify the religion of the deceased until they are told.

Daniel has more than 2,300 names so far, with more coming all the time. "I hope the website will include additional information relating to each casualty, so that they remain something more than just a name on a page," he said.

His work has also drawn praise from historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who said: "This is a most important and impressive endeavour, and I wish it - and Daniel Levy - well in what is being undertaken."

www.jewishwargraves.org

    Last updated: 9:53am, November 12 2010