In our latest 100 second interview celebrating the community’s centenarians, we speak to Jewish Care service user Joseph Winton.
Date of birth: 2 March 1919
Place of birth: Lodz, Poland.
Where do you live? How long have you lived there? Where did you live before?
My family left Poland in 1920, then lived happily in Brussels until World War II when the Nazi’s invaded Belgium.
My sister joined the underground and my brother and I fled, hiding on a train for nine days before arriving in Toulouse, France. We boarded a ship with the Polish Army and I was so worried they would find out that I was Polish on my passport and draft me into military service straight away, but we managed to get to the UK safely.
I arrived in Plymouth with my brother, Jacques. We travelled to London and were taken to Chelsea Barracks. When they were sure we were refugees they let us go on our way and we found our way to relatives living in the East End.
I joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and my brother and I both survived the War.
I lived in St Johns Wood when I first got married and then Fitzalen Road in Finchley.
What was your occupation before retirement?
When I started work I changed my name from Weissberg to Winton. I began in business as an agent for French luxury women’s wear brand Desarbre and then ran a business selling unique Trefousse leather gloves, which were supplied to Her Majesty the Queen.
Were you married, and if so for how long and to whom?
I met Ann Ahuva Armon in 1957 when she was visiting from Israel and we married in London soon after. We were happily married for 59 years.
In 2005, Ann moved into Jewish Care’s Lady Sarah Cohen House and she sadly passed away in February 1916.
How many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren do you have?
I have a son, Philip, daughter, Daniella and three grandchildren Gideon, 20, Natalie 18 and Benjamin 13, who just celebrated his Barmitzvah. I also have a big family of nephews and nieces, who joined me from Israel and Belgium for my 100th birthday celebration.
What national or international news story has had the greatest impact on you over the years?
The Second World War, of course. The Government announcement early in the morning, told us to leave to France immediately or we’d have to be in military service, we left fast.
Are older people given the respect they deserve in Britain today?
I think so, I had lovely messages wishing me well on Facebook on my 100th birthday from many people who don’t know me!
If you could offer a piece of advice to today’s youngsters, what would it be?
Live your life, try to do the right thing and be content with what you have.
Did you have any other connection with Jewish Care before living here?
I have lived at Jewish Care’s Lady Sarah Cohen House for nearly two years and before that I enjoyed meeting friends and going to activities at Jewish Care’s Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre in Golders Green.