Chelsea Football Club and the Royal Air Force Museum have announced that they are jointly developing a new project to tell the untold stories of Jewish air force personnel who flew in the Second World War.
The Jewish ‘Hidden Heroes’ project is backed by Chelsea Foundation with funding from the club’s owner Roman Abramovich, who has spent the past two years prioritising the club’s support for an anti-racism campaign in football.
It will build on work already undertaken by the RAF Museum, whose researchers have, in recent years, sought to better understand the vital role in the war effort played by Jewish personnel, who joined the RAF from all over the world.
Organisers said they signed up “to fight against tyranny, racism and antisemitism, fully aware that they risked torture and execution if captured”.
The new project will be launched next year to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and seeks to tell the stories of Jewish veterans “to preserve their memory, and act as a challenge to antisemitism, racism and discrimination”.
Museum chief executive Maggie Appleton said the battle was the RAF’s “defining moment,” adding: “With many Jewish RAF personnel playing crucial roles, the 80th anniversary provides the perfect opportunity to remember these incredible people.”
Appleton said: “By highlighting the stories [of Jewish personnel] we want to play our part in calling out the rise in antisemitism and wider racism in our society.”
Chelsea FC chair Bruce Buck said the club was “committed to tackling antisemitism through education and the Jewish ‘Hidden Heroes’ tells important stories about the bravery of Jewish RAF personnel during the conflict”.
He added: “Since we launched our ‘Say No to Antisemitism’ campaign in January 2018, and under the leadership of Roman Abramovich, we have been focussed on tackling racism and discrimination in the stands and in wider society.”
To mark the partnership, the club will be hosting a dinner in one of its VIP boxes, followed by the Chelsea vs Aston Villa match on 4 December. During the evening, Jewish Royal Air Force veterans who fought during the Battle of Britain will share their stories and be honoured for their heroic contributions.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.