Kinder refugee recalls ‘awful’ swastika letter

An 83-year-old refugee from Nazi Germany spoke this week of the “hurt” of being the victim of a campaign of antisemitic and threatening letters. The material came from a Portsmouth postman  who has just received a four-year jail sentence.

In February 2005, Julius Klein, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport aged 14 in 1939, received an envelope containing a swastika-daubed paper. There were references to Adolf Hitler and the number 18, often associated with Hitler, whose initials are the first and eighth numbers of the alphabet.

Last week, Southwark Crown Court heard that, between 2003 and 2007, Jefferson Azevedo, 45, sent over 150 threatening letters to individuals, MPs, churches, mosques, companies and a primary school. He also forced the closure of the A27 road after hanging a swastika banner from a bridge on which he had placed a fake bomb.

Mr Klein, who also lives in Portsmouth and is originally from Dusseldorf, said it was “a great relief” that Azevedo had been jailed. “It means he is out of action for the next four years,” the former warden of Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation said.

“Receiving the letter was a very hurtful experience. It came completely out of the blue and was awful. To me a swastika is a very nasty thing. If you have lived through the situation as a youngster, then it stays with you,” Mr Klein added.

    Last updated: 4:24pm, June 27 2008