45 Aid Society and Second Generation
The Boys – Seventy Years On
In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, the British government allowed 732 orphaned Jewish child survivors to move to the UK. Collectively, they became known as ‘The Boys’, although the group did include a small number of girls. Bonded by terrible shared experiences and having lost their families in the Holocaust, they formed a tight group. Their stories have been told by historian Sir Martin Gilbert in his book The Boys, published in 1996.
Now, as the world gathers to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi death camps, the Boys and their families are weaving together their memories into a gigantic memory quilt. The quilt is the brain child of Julia Burton, the daughter of David Herman, also one of The Boys.
The Boys, many of whom are now in their eighties, along with their children and grandchildren, attended workshops where they turned their stories and their memories into fabric quilt squares. The designs are beautiful: abstract paintings, charcoal drawings, photos stitched into the fabric and family trees made of felt, to name but a few. The squares are a celebration of survival in the face of adversity and of lives rebuilt in the UK.
‘The Boys’ created a charitable organisation, the 45 Aid Society, and the quilt was unveiled on Sunday 3rd May at their 70th Annual Reunion in London, attended by The Boys themselves, their families - Second and Third Generations – as well as friends. Guests of Honour Sir Peter Bazalgette - ,Chairman of the Arts Council and The Inaugural Chairman of the United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation – and Robert “Judge” Rinder – Grandson of one of the Boys “ Moshe Malinicky “ and star of ITV series, Judge Rinder both addressed the 630 strong audience. Chairman, Ben Helfgott said “It is very moving to see the Memory Quilt as a permanent commemoration to The Boys with details of their contribution to the community, society and family. We are very excited to see the Second Generation continue the work of the Survivors in the 45 Aid Society“.
In future, the quilt will be displayed at the Jewish Museum in Camden, Beth Shalom in Nottingham and the Lake District Holocaust Project, Windermere and eventually museums further afield.