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Golders Green woman celebrates 100th birthday with family Zoom call from her care home

PUBLISHED: 11:45 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:55 02 September 2020

Alice Frank surrounded by balloons and cards on her 100th birthday at the Otto Schiff care home in Golders Green. Picture: Jewish Care

Alice Frank surrounded by balloons and cards on her 100th birthday at the Otto Schiff care home in Golders Green. Picture: Jewish Care

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A Golders Green pensioner has celebrated her 100th birthday at the care home named after her former employer - a World War Two hero.

Alice Frank in her 20s. In 1942, she married a dentist at Hampstead Town Hall. Picture: Jewish CareAlice Frank in her 20s. In 1942, she married a dentist at Hampstead Town Hall. Picture: Jewish Care

In 1936, Alice Frank worked as a secretary for Otto Schiff, who persuaded the British government to allow thousands of refugees to escape Nazi Germany and settle in the UK.

Alice marked her 100th birthday on August 13 at the Otto Schiff care home in Limes Avenue. She had a Zoom call with her two sons’ families, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren - all of whom live across the UK, Canada and the US.

Peter Frank, Alice’s son, said: “Alice moved to Otto Schiff care home when increasing dementia and frailty made living alone in her flat in Golders Green too difficult.

“When we came in for the first visit to the home she looked at the oil painting of Otto Schiff in the entrance hall and said: ‘Of course I remember him, we sat in the same office for a year.’”

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Alice grew up in the German suburbs of Elberfeld, Wuppertal, where her father owned a textile business. In 1934, aged 14, Alice was sent to school in Gardona, Italy to flee Nazi Germany.

She then moved to London where her family stayed throughout World War Two. After their West Hampstead flat was bombed, the Franks moved to Finchley.

In 1942, Alice married a dentist at Hampstead Town Hall. They moved to West Hampstead, then Maida Vale. After her husband died in 1998, Alice continued as a member of the Leo Baeck Lodge where she was president of the women’s section.

Alice was also a secretary at the Otto Schiff Housing Association and a volunteer archivist at the Wiener Library,

She later moved to Golders Green, and then, in 2019, to Jewish Care’s Otto Schiff home due to her dementia.

Danuta Krysiak, Jewish Care’s social care coordinator, said: “All the staff at the home feel privileged to look after someone who’s worked for Otto Schiff and we were pleased to celebrate such a special occasion with Alice.

“It was a lovely online celebration with her family on Zoom. Alice was so pleased to see them all and was delighted to see her grandchildren and young great-grandchildren on the screen.”

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