Church bends rules to allow Star of David on grave of Jewish war hero

Cross symbol is removed from headstone after request from family


The grave of a Jewish Second World War hero has been marked with a Star of David almost 80 years after he was killed in action

The Church of England has allowed the crucifix on the grave of Pilot Officer Harold Rosofsky, who was buried in an Anglican churchyard, to be removed and replaced with the Jewish symbol.

Mr Rosofsky, 26, was one of the first British airmen to be killed in the war. His plane came down over Suffolk on September 8, 1939.

His burial was arranged by the RAF, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was unable to contact his family to ask how he should be remembered.

He was buried in the churchyard of All Saints & St Andrew, in the Suffolk village of Honington and Sapiston, with a standard gravestone bearing a cross.

His sister's niece Jennifer Hoffmann contacted the War Graves Commission to ask for a Star of David to be installed, after the family learned of the existence of the grave in 2012.

Ms Hoffman told the Commission it “seems wrong that he has a cross on his grave” as her other deceased relatives had been buried in Jewish cemeteries.

The Star of David was allowed as an exception to the rule that non-Christian images on monuments should not be allowed in churchyards.

David Etherington, Chancellor of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, said that Mr Rosofsky was worthy of "admiration and respect".

A spokesman for the War Graves Commission said: "As time has gone on, descendants of those who have passed wish to either see a particular religious symbol on the stone or for the cross to be changed.

"However, we have to respect the wishes of the original family members, many of which were parents, and if we have files of the original request, we cannot change the headstone.

"But if there is no religious symbol, or it is incorrect, there were no requests from original family members and the descendants can prove the religion, the CWGC are more than happy to change the headstone."

Examples of Jewish symbols in Christian graveyards are rare. In one other known instance, the grave of First World War airman Lt Harry Walter Jassby, in Aldborough Hatch (St Peter's) Churchyard, Newbury Park, Essex, bears a Star of David.

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