Second World War

Wartime bomb found at JCoSS site

March 19, 2009

Bomb disposal officers were called to the Jewish Community Secondary School site in Barnet last Wednesday after building workers disovered an unexploded Second World War bomb.

The site and the neighbouring East Barnet Upper School were evacuated and residents alerted in advance of a controlled explosion, which was heard across a wide area. Cordons were then lifted and the locality reopened to traffic and pedestrians.

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Wartime pope’s secret heroism

By Simon Caldwell, February 26, 2009

Documents that show the wartime pope saved tens of thousands of European Jews from the Nazis have been discovered in the Vatican’s
archives.

The 300 pages reveal that Pope Pius XII directly ordered convents, monasteries and Catholic churches to hide Jews from the Gestapo.

He also helped Jews to escape to safe countries, requesting the Brazilian government to receive 3,000 “non-Aryans” and persuading the Dominican Republic to grant visas for a further 11,000 people.

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Sainthood bid for nun who saved lives

By Simon Caldwell, February 12, 2009

A little-known English nun who helped to hide Italian Jews from the Nazis in wartime Rome is being considered as a possible saint.

Mother Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough, who died in 1966, is credited with playing a vital role in saving the lives of more than 60 Jews by smuggling them into her convent.

Her order, the Bridgettines, have now applied to the Vatican for permission to open her cause for sainthood.

If granted, she will become one of four British women whose sainthood cases are under consideration by the Church.

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Kristallnacht menorah is restored - after 70 years

January 22, 2009

Seventy years ago Emmy Kaufmann, then 24, entered the UK as a domestic worker. She came from Kommern, a small village near Cologne with just 12 Jewish families, and had fled Germany after Kristallnacht, in November 1938.

Last month Emmy, now Mrs Golding, who today lives in Edgware, north London, was reunited with a menorah which had been salvaged from the Kommern synagogue destroyed by the Nazis. The rescuer was an 11-year-old girl, Maria Klee, who picked out the still smouldering brass menorah from the burnt-out synagogue the day after the Nazis set fire to it.

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We learned lessons from the Blitz, says Home Front

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 15, 2009

The IDF Home Front Command studied the wartime Blitz while overhauling its operational plans before Operation Cast Lead.

It concluded that, if the people of London could continue working despite repeated nights of aerial bombings, there was no reason for Israel’s southern region to be paralysed by Hamas rockets.

Like the other major units of the IDF, the Home Command also underwent a comprehensive process of reassessment following the second Lebanon war.

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Germany agrees to try Demjanjuk

By Toby Axelrod, December 18, 2008

Germany’s Federal Supreme Court has given its approval for a Munich court to try accused Nazi war criminal John (Ivan) Demjanjuk.

Following last week’s decision, the 88-year-old man, who has spent most of the post-war period as a US citizen, may now be extradited to Germany, despite the protests of family members who claim he is too frail.

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Foreign Office honours the spies who saved us

By Leon Symons, November 27, 2008

The heroic efforts of a group of British diplomats who helped thousands of Jews escape the Nazis in Germany and elsewhere in occupied Europe were finally officially recognised last week.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband unveiled a plaque commemorating their selfless actions on a main staircase wall in the Foreign Office.

There are no names on the plaque because there was no record of the actions they took. At least 11 are known. Frank Foley was arguably the most famous, while Robert Smallbones and Thomas Preston were two more.

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The baroness planning to sue Poland over lost family assets

By Miriam Shaviv, June 13, 2008

Baroness Deech, the former BBC governor and Oxford college head, has hired lawyers in a bid to force the Polish government to compensate her for a series of family properties apparently confiscated during the Second World War.

The estate includes a block of flats in Krakow which belonged to her maternal grandmother, killed in a concentration camp, and a now-derelict oil refinery owned by her paternal grandfather near a village where he was once mayor.

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You think I’m wild? You should see my mother

By Stephen Applebaum, June 6, 2008

In the swinging ’60s, Marianne Faithfull lived a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll, and almost ended up paying the ultimate price. But, as she reveals, she wasn’t the first wild child in her extraordinary Jewish family

Marianne Faithfull was raised as a Catholic, but the husky-voiced singer says she has her Jewish roots to thank for her acclaimed renditions of the songs of Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill. People were astounded when they first heard her perform their work, she recalls — which started her wondering why she had such an innate flair for their music.

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Sybil Wayne attends Sinclair House ceremony

May 30, 2008

Sybil Wayne, 93, a member of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue, was invited to attend a ceremony at Sinclair House, the Redbridge Jewish Community Centre. At the event, Jewish Care joined forces with Ajex to pay tribute to civilians who served as fire fighters with the Auxiliary Fire Service during the Second World War. As the journey was too much for her, Mrs Wayne received her certificate by post.

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