Jewish Care marks Remembrance Sunday

15 Nov 2021

“It’s an honour to lay the wreath on behalf of Jewish Care,” said 92-year-old Freddy Berdach on  Remembrance Sunday at the service at Edgware cenotaph.

Today, Freddy volunteers at Jewish Care’s Ronson Family Community Centre at Sandringham and also delivers Challah to members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, where he is also a member. He says, “I want to do things for others. I was lucky, having survived when so many didn’t and I thank God every day for my blessings. It’s important for young people to know what life was like and what good opportunities they have today.”

“I arrived in the UK in December 1938 after fleeing Vienna at the age of eight years old. I came with my mother who had a visa to go into domestic service and I was fostered out eight times over the two years so I wouldn’t be too attached to the families. When my father arrived here, he volunteered for the British Expeditionary Force in Le Havre. He was wounded and stayed in hospital for nine months before being honourably discharged and demobbed in Taunton, Somerset, where he became an enemy alien.

“Having missed two years of school, I eventually started school in Holloway. I finished my A levels and was called up for National Service and deferred my university place at Kings College.

“I served two years in the RAF during the Korean War in 1951 as part of Air Traffic Control on RAF Stradishall in Suffolk, and RAF Ringway, which is now Manchester Airport.

The community ceremony at the Edgware Cenotaph was also attended by representative of the Mayor of Barnet, Cllr. Lachhya Gurung, Andrew Dismore representing the former members of the Royal British Legion Edgware branch, as well as representatives from local churches and Buddhist and Nepalese community, Ghurkhas and those from Edgware United Synagogue and Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue, the Hebrew Order of David, AJEX, Jewish scouts and guides, army cadets and members of the local community.

At Jewish Care’s Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in a moving service led by Rabbi Junik, Jewish Care’s Spiritual and Pastoral Lead, many residents and staff from the three care homes, attended a Remembrance Sunday service. Residents, Michael Levitt, laid a wreath and resident, Melvin Goldberg who did National Service for two years at the age of 18 and served in the 14th Field Regiment, played The Last Post on the trumpet whilst another resident, Laurence Brown, read a poem by Siegfried Sassoon.

Care home resident, Melvin Goldberg played The Last Post and resident Phyllis Burley, born in 1925, remembers her time as an Airforce mechanic repairing planes near the end of World War II. Sheila Golding remembers her father, Joseph Schneider, who served in the World War I in the trenches for four years in France at the age of 16. Her brother Bernard Taylor, who was in the RAF for 20 years between the wars, and was mentioned in Dispatches for his service in Africa, and her husband Nat Golding, who served in the Royal Signals en route to Burma. Sheila says, 'I'm very proud of them all."

Residents across care homes participated in Remembrance Sunday reminiscence activities, watched the service and had special teas to mark the day. The Hebrew Order of David kindly sponsored teas at Jewish Care homes at Sandringham, The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre and Otto Schiff home.

Jewish Care’s Chief Executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown, said, “The members of our community who are ex-servicemen and women are becoming frailer and the number who are able to share their stories with us is decreasing. It is so important that we pay tribute to the courage shown by those who served during the wars and since, so that we can live in freedom today. We continue to be inspired by their stories and honour them and the memory of those, who have sadly, over the years, lost their lives. We would like to thank the Hebrew Order of David for supporting our care home residents to mark the day."