Cross removed from Jewish pilot's Second World War grave

By Zoe Winograd, August 30, 2013

This week marks the end of a two-year campaign by the family of Second World War hero pilot Cyril Anekstein to have a cross removed from his grave and replaced by a star of David.

Squadron Leader Anekstein was killed during a RAF bombing mission over Germany in August 1943 and buried in the Rheinberg cemetery.

In 2011, his Jerome Freedman, Mr Anekstein’s 77-year-old nephew, visited the cemetery and discovered that a cross had been fixed to his uncle’s gravestone.

Feeling “saddened”, Mr Freedman contacted the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to have the mistake rectified. Now the commission has confirmed that “a new headstone with a star” has been erected”.

Yesterday, 14 family members conducted a service at the grave.

“A closure, in a way” said Mr Freedman.

Son of a minister from Holland Road Synagogue in Hove, Squadron Leader Anekstein became a pilot in 1942 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

He was known as a “captain of all sports”, to the extent that in the 1950s the Maccabi Cyril Anekstein Cup was created in tribute.

Last updated: 1:45pm, August 30 2013