Oldest Jewish man celebrates 105

Joseph Winton’s secret is his ‘pure zest for life’


Joseph Winton, who is believed to be the UK's oldest Jewish man, has just celebrated his 105th birthday at Jewish Care’s Stella & Harry Freedman House care home at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre (Photo: Mike Stone)

The oldest Jewish man in the UK has celebrated his 105th birthday surrounded by family and friends who say his "zest for life and living" is the secret to a long life.

Joseph Winton, who is a resident at Jewish Care’s Stella & Harry Freedman House care home at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in north London, was presented with a telegram from His Majesty King Charles and Queen Camilla at his party.

The messages of congratulations didn’t stop there, with the centenarian also receiving a well wishes from the Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis.

Born in 1919, Winton also holds the proud titles of being the oldest man who is living at a Jewish Care home, as well as being the oldest Cohen in the UK.

Joseph has two children, Philip and Daniella, and three grandchildren, Gideon, Natalie and Benjamin.

He and his family celebrated the milestone with afternoon tea, gifts, cake and a rendition of his favourite French song, La Vie En Rose.

Joseph’s daughter, Daniella, told the JC: “We feel truly blessed to be sharing another milestone birthday together. It was a fantastic celebration, filled with love, warmth and inspiration, which is something we all need during these very difficult times.

“My dad’s life has been a masterclass in resilience and grace. I think of all the hardships he’s faced, the history he has lived, the love he has given, and the strength he has shown. It's truly incredible.

Lillian Okotcha, registered manager at Jewish Care’s Stella & Harry Freedman House, said Joseph was “a wonderful, loving, man”.

She said the Jewish Care team who look after him “adore” him and were “pleased that Joseph had a special day celebrating his incredible milestone”.

Joseph was born after the First World War and lived through the Second World War. His parents Yiska and Shlomo Weissberg, a tailor, escaped Lodz, Poland, in 1920 with him and his sister, Rosette.

Three years later, his brother Jacques was born in Brussels. When the Nazis invaded Belgium in 1940, Joseph’s sister joined the underground resistance. Joseph and Jacques fled the country, hiding on a train for nine days and nights arriving in Toulouse, France.

They then hid on a transatlantic ship, helped by an officer in the Polish Army, boarding without knowing their destination.

They arrived in Plymouth before travelling by train to London, where they were taken to Chelsea Barracks to be interviewed by Scotland Yard.

Joseph and Jacques were then allowed to make their way to family in the East End. Joseph joined the Royal Army Ordinance Core, making the most of his multi-lingual skills in German, French and Flemish, to work in communications.

After the war, he became a selling agent for French fashion house Desarbre and went on to run a business selling unique Trefousse leather gloves, which were supplied to Her Majesty the Queen.

He met Ann Ahuva Armon in 1957 and they married soon after. They were together for 59 years, living in St John’s Wood before moving in 1960 to Finchley, where they had Philip in 1961 and Daniella in 1965.

Ann passed away in February 2016, but Joseph would visit her everyday when she was a resident at Lady Sarah Cohen House, now Stella & Harry Freedman House.

His daughter Daniella said: “People ask me what’s the secret, and I think it could all be down to his pure zest for life and living, despite all he has lived through. Long may that last.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive