Jewish community organisations are backing a campaign by a Jewish historian for headstones to honour members of a Jewish family buried at Plashet Cemetery who were killed by a German bomb 100 years ago this week.
Members of United Synagogue Women and the League of Jewish Women are standing behind a call by Peterborough-based historian Stan Kaye to raise money for headstones for members of the Moss family from Bethnal Green.
Mother Rebecca Moss was killed with her children Hetty and Esther on 13 June 1917 in a German bombing raid over London. Rebecca was 35, Hettie was 11 and Esther was 5. Rebecca’s twins Betsy and Cissie, aged nine months, also later died of their injuries, as did a Jewish family member who was lodging in the house at the time.
“All the graves only have a metal marker in Section P,” said Kaye this week. “How nice would it be if we could put a small stone on all of the graves with their details.”
Kaye came across the Moss family’s story while researching others buried at Plashet Jewish Cemetery, and later found a newspaper cutting relating to the family while searching the archives at the Royal London Hospital.
The father was a Russian Jewish bootmaker who had been out shopping when the air-raid took place. When he rushed home he found the scene of devastation, recorded in the archives. The family comprised seven children before the raid, the father told the Bethnal Green coroner.
In a graphic description, the hospital records: “It was impossible to recognise the body of Mrs Moss, every bone was smashed. Hetty had a crushed chest. Esther had several bones broken, and her body was scorched, although no fire broke out.”
Yvonne Brent of LJW this week said: “Stan has our full support. The League of Jewish Women has been supportive of the admirable work done by him with regard to the Jewish graves from WWI in Plashet Grove Cemetery that do not have headstones and, in particular the graves of the Moss family. We hope that the community can come together to raise funds to rectify this.”
Asked about the cost, Kaye said: “We’re only talking about something simple, you can get them for £100 or so. It would just be a fitting tribute if we could pay our respects to them properly. Now we’ve found them and identified them, for me, the next step is to give them a headstone. I hate walking in a cemetery and not seeing a headstone. This week it’s the 100th anniversary, so let’s see what we can do.”