My thoughts are at the Cenotaph where, this Sunday, AJEX, The Association of Jewish ex-Servicemen and Women, will hold its annual Remembrance Parade.
Jewish soldiers fought in every arm of the British services during both World Wars. None were more passionate to defeat the Nazis that those Jews who had fled Britain from the clutches of The Third Reich, as Helen Fry so graphically describes in her aptly titled work His Majesty’s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens.
After the war many Jewish soldiers from across the Allied Armies became active in the rescue of survivors, especially children who had often all on their own managed to outlive the torments of ghettos, concentration camps and hiding in frozen forests or under an assumed non-Jewish identity.
‘Soldiers, our soldiers,’ one survivor remembers exclaiming the first time she saw fellow Jews in uniform. They were her rescuers, her heroes.
The well-known phrases are simply true: the soldiers of the Allied Forces risked and gave their lives for freedoms we are liable to take for granted.
The only way we can really thank them is by remembering their courage and that of their families, and by using the lives they enabled us to enjoy for the good of our people and all humankind.