Remembrance Day tributes to all who made ultimate sacrifice
Remembrance and Armistice Day were marked with services and wreath laying across Camden, Haringey and Barnet - as the vivid recollections of German soldiers who fought against the Nazis in the Second World War were told at one moving event.
Four German and Austrian refugees revealed how they had fought in the British army against their home side at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green last Thursday (November 10).
Willy Field, 91, who lives in Cricklewood but is originally from Germany, fled Nazi persecution to come to England.
He survived a German concentration camp for Jews before the war and on arrival in England was deported to Australia as a suspected enemy sympathiser, on the infamous death-ship Dunera.
When war broke out he joined the British army and as a soldier took part in the D-Day landings and was the only survivor when his tank was blown up in Holland.
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He said he was glad to fight against the Nazis, who wiped out his entire family except his twin sister.
Mr Field said: “I wanted to join the army because I wanted to give England something back and make sure Hitler was defeated.
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“If I had stayed in Germany I would have been sent to a concentration camp. I consider myself lucky.”
Mr Field was one of four refugees speaking at the centre in North End Road, along with historian Dr Helen Fry.
She has told the story of the 10,000 Germans fighting against Hitler in her book Churchill’s German Army.
Elsewhere in the borough on Armistice Day on Friday, November 11, school pupils from The Royal School in Hampstead carried out a clean-up of a historic tomb for soldiers daughters in Hampstead Churchyard.
The Mayor of Camden Cllr Abdul Quadir attended Whitestone Pond War Memorial and Deputy Mayor Cllr Heather Johnson attended a service at Hampstead Cemetery in Fortune Green.
Cllr Johnson said the event was “very moving” and added: “It demonstrates that people still remember - and not only those who died in World War One and Two, but also those who are still dying in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Events on Remembrance Sunday (November 13) included services and wreath-laying at St Pancras Church in King’s Cross, at the Railway Memorial in front of Euston Station, at Hornsey War Memorial in Hornsey Health Centre, Crouch End, and at St Jude’s Church in Hampstead Garden Suburb.