Tribute to an enemy: Campaign to change grave of WWI Jewish Soldier

By Daniel Easterman, June 13, 2014

Two historians are campaigning for a star of David to be engraved on the headstone of a Jewish soldier who died fighting for Germany during the First World War.

Lieutenant Maximilian Seller was killed in 1915 as he led an assault against a British trench near Ypres. A British sergeant, Victor Rathbone, who was also Jewish, ordered that he be buried with a Jewish burial service. But his grave, in Hyde Park Corner British military cemetery in northern France, does not have any outward display of his Jewish faith.

Mike Edwards, a former engineer in the Royal Air Force and German historian Robin Schafer have sent requests to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and its German equivalent for the grave to be changed, but so far have received no response.

"If Victor was still alive today, he would want that headstone changed," said Mr Edwards.

A spokesperson for the CWGC said: "It is the judgment of our German sister organisation to decide whether any changes should be made."

Last updated: 11:45am, June 13 2014