Robert Rinder to present BBC series on the Holocaust
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Robert Rinder to present BBC series on the Holocaust

TV barrister revealed during this week’s JW3 dinner that he'll front the three new programmes following his appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Judge Rinder being interviewed by Samantha Simmonds at JW3. (C) Blake Ezra Photography 2018
Judge Rinder being interviewed by Samantha Simmonds at JW3. (C) Blake Ezra Photography 2018

Robert Rinder is to front a series of BBC programmes on the Holocaust following the success of his appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?

The TV barrister revealed during this week’s JW3 dinner that he has been asked to present three new programmes.

Rinder appeared on the popular genealogy show earlier this year to trace the harrowing story of his grandfather, who was the only member of his family to survive the Shoah. Interviewed on stage on Monday night by BBC presenter Samantha Simmonds, he pointed out the emotional episode had attracted 1.4m viewers more than any other episode and had been trending for the best part of a day “without a peep of antisemitism”.

Rinder, who also discussed his time on Strictly Come Dancing, described the opportunity as “the first” among many privileges he has been afforded since entering the public eye.

The night, which raised a record £320,000, also saw guests reduced to stitches by the legendary Barry Humphries – best known for alter ego Dame Edna Everage – who was quizzed by former ITV Entertainment chief Claudia Rosencrantz. He spoke about his career and insisted Dame Edna had a “very nice Jewish side to her”.

Barry Humphries (left) with JW3’s CEO Raymond Simonson. (C) Blake Ezra Photography 2018

Telling diners he had “always felt very much at home in an environment like this, particularly the tension”, he recalled how there were a quota of Jews at his school in Australia. “I liked them because they were outsiders,” he said. “They all had a history. Melbourne had largest population of survivors outside Israel.” He also spoke of his friendship with an elderly rabbi who arrived from Germany in 1939, saying: “I was aware from a young age that in my lifetime terrible events were taking place.” Hinting he may be back for a public event next year, Humphries praised the community centre as a “wonderful oasis. I intend to come here as much as possible if I can get past security”.

Sir Trevor Pears and his family foundation were presented with an award for outstanding contribution to JW3, which recently celebrated its one millionth visitor this year. Former chair Michael Goldstein said his contribution had been “beyond explanation. He and the Foundation continue to be significant financial contributors but also a tremendous counsel to me and chief executive Raymond [Simonson] in terms of JW3’s development”. Pears said: “I’m proud to be supporting one of the best examples of a confident outward-looking Jewish community.”
The evening was compered by Simonson and concluded by new chair Marc Nohr, who spoke of the thousands of events taking place at the hub annually including the high-profile memorial for Pittsburgh and an address by Gordon Brown on antisemitism : “This is the place I wish existed when I was growing up…Judaism is multifaceted and and inflects itself in a myriad of different ways, though always with community at its heart. This is the place where Jews of all varieties, and non-Jews, come together to learn, laugh, eat and talk about the things we have in common.”

Listen to this week’s episode of The Jewish Views podcast! SPECIAL EDITION – Chanukah in the Square!

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