Author: Joe Millis
Jewish refugees living in the UK are back on dry land after a ten-day cruise around the Mediterranean that incorporated sites of Jewish interest.
The seafarers were a group of 19 members of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), many of whom were born in Germany or Austria. They toured Portugal, Spain and Gibraltar on the P&O Ventura, arriving back on Friday.
In Lisbon the group visited the Shaaré Tikvah Synagogue, which opened in 1904. The shul is indistinguishable from the street, built at a time when it was forbidden for any faith or religion other than the Catholic Church to be openly visible.
Among the travellers was Henriette (Henny) Franks, 95, who arrived in England in February 1939 on the Kindertransport, training as a dressmaker and working for the British Army as a driver. Her father Jacob was killed at Sobibor.
AJR, which provided social and welfare services to Jewish refugees, regularly organises subsidised trips for its members, together with their spouses and children, but this is the first time the organisation has organised a cruise.
“We were thrilled to organise our first cruise and delighted that so many of our members could participate and have a great time,” said AJR chief executive Michael Newman.