Families of the Boys feature in 45 Aid Society reunion video
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Families of the Boys feature in 45 Aid Society reunion video

'Tonight we would have eaten, we would have drunk and we would have soaked the atmosphere of this wonderful unique family simcha'

The families of orphaned child Holocaust survivors who came to Britain to begin new lives 75 years ago appeared in a new video released at the weekend to mark the anniversary. 

The group of 732 survivors, which became known as the Boys but included 80 girls, formed the 45 Aid Society to raise money for charitable causes and teach the lessons of the Holocaust.

Their cancelled annual reunion dinner was set to draw 700 guests to a venue in north London, including TV personality Robert Rinder – the grandson of survivor Moishe Malenicky – as well as Dame Esther Rantzen, the author Howard Jacobson and Countdown star Rachel Riley. 

In addition to the dinner, a group of 200 survivors, children and grandchildren were due to gather this weekend in Windermere to visit the site of the former Calgarth Estate, where some 300 young Jewish orphans were brought to recuperate after the Second World War, as retold in BBC 2’s emotive drama, The Windermere Children, broadcast earlier this year.

The 45 Aid Society released a 23-minute video on Sunday evening, with never-before-seen highlights from the group’s trip to Prague last May.

The video, which has been viewed more than 800 times, also features a virtual memorial candle lighting ceremony led by the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Boys based around the world.

Over 100 family members contributed to the candle-lighting ceremony, the charity said.

In the video, the society’s chairman Angela Cohen said: “Next year, 2021, we will celebrate twice as hard, firstly at the reunion which will be on 3 May, and a few days later, 7 May, 200 of us will travel to Windermere for what I’m sure will be another very memorable weekend.

“Tonight we would have eaten, we would have drunk and we would have soaked the atmosphere of this wonderful unique family simcha. As we can’t be together, please may I suggest, while watching the film you pour yourself a large glass of whatever you enjoy and let’s raise our glasses to the Boys and the 45 Aid Society, l’chaim.”

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