Star of David to replace cross on First World War soldier's grave

By Marcus Dysch, October 17, 2013

A star of David will replace a cross on the grave of a Jewish First World War soldier following a campaign to have the Christian symbol removed.

Last month, Corporal Joseph Nossek’s family told the JC of their desperation over their attempts to have the cross removed, which were repeatedly rejected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

Cpl Nossek was killed in action and buried in a war cemetery in France in 1916, but his gravestone did not feature any acknowledgment of his Jewish faith.

The CWGC previously said it had been unable to act because of a decision made by the soldier’s next-of-kin at the time of his death.

But after the JC reported the family’s struggle, the CWGC relented, and contacted the Nossek family this week to confirm the change.

The Commission said the “weight of evidence” of Cpl Nossek’s Jewish background presented during the past year was “significant” and had led to the “exceptional” decision to make the alteration.

Relative Colin Nossek, of Romford, Essex, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. We’ve been chasing this and it was really hard work. I want to go to France and see the new headstone when it’s up.”

Peggy Gosen, a niece of Cpl Nossek, said: “We are delighted. Pressure from the family achieved its aim.”

Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women archivist Martin Sugarman, who had supported the family, said: “It’s fantastic news. I think the articles in the JC had something to do with it and helped push the case higher up in the Commission.”

Last updated: 4:45pm, October 17 2013