AJEX service of remembrance honours Jewish fallen with no known graves

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AJEX service of remembrance honours Jewish fallen with no known graves

More than 100 attendees at Willesden Jewish Cemetery commemorate the 120,000 Jewish servicemen and women who valiantly served during both world wars

AJEX has conducted a special service of remembrance at the Jewish war memorial at Willesden Jewish cemetery.

The service paid tribute to the Jewish fallen of HM Forces in both world wars and honoured those who have no known graves.

The commemorative event brought together more than 100 attendees to remember over 120,000 Jewish servicemen and women who served during both world wars.

Additionally, the ceremony marked the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, remembering all Holocaust victims and those persecuted by the Nazis.

JLGB Bugler Richard Brett at the AJEX Service of Remembrance Willesden. Credit Gerry Temple

The Willesden Cenotaph, the first Jewish war memorial in the country and the oldest collective war memorial for the Jewish community in the UK, stands as a poignant symbol of Remembrance.

The memorial is a tribute to all Jewish veterans who rest in unknown graves. The ceremony was led by AJEX National Chair, Dan Fox, and Rabbi Major Reuben Livingstone. Mike Bluestone, Vice President of AJEX, led the Exhortation and Melvyn Hartog from the United Synagogue the Kohima Epitaph.

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss, delivered a speech and was among the wreath layers. Wreaths were also laid by Cllr Orleen Hylton, Mayor of Brent, Clive Boxer, Paul McCue of The Secret WW2 Learning Network, and Col Morrison.

Rabbi Major Reuben Livingstone leading the the AJEX Service of Remembrance Willesden. Credit Gerry Temple

30 Cadets from the 205 Wembley Detachment paraded along with the AJEX standards and Richard Brett from JLGB joined the event as the Bugler.

After the ceremony the participants moved to the Commonwealth War Graves Plot where Brian Bloom, AJEX JMA Vice President, led the laying of Magen David poppy markers. Markers were laid by young people present and the cadets continuing the Baton of Remembrance.

In addition prayers, poetry and poppy markers were laid at the adjacent Liberal Jewish  Cemetery by Rabbi Godleman, Rabbi (Major) Reuben Livingstone, and Vice President of AJEX, Ron Shelley MBE.

Following this the congregation were moved by recitals of poignant poems delivered by Mei Sim Lai, Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Brent, Jonathan Arkush, Krupesh Hirani, London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, Barry Gardiner MP, Fiona Palmer, Chief Executive AJEX JMA, and veteran Mervyn Kersh.

AJEX Service of Remembrance Willesden Credit Stan Kaye

Dan Fox said: “Willesden Cemetery was consecrated in 1873 and at the turn of the 20th century was home to memorial boards for Jews who had died in the Boer Wars. And then later the fallen of the Great War.

“In 1960, its front lawns became the site of the country’s first national Jewish War Memorial, alongside Commonwealth War Graves. Much has changed around us in those 150 years but Jewish service to crown and country has remained steadfast and constant. The Willesden Cenotaph is the perfect place to Remember and thank those whose memory we honour.”

As a continuation of the day’s tributes, Colonel Morrison from the Australian embassy unveiled new tokens dedicated to two brave young men who fought in the First World War.

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