He is also a volunteer for Jewish Care at Sandringham near Stanmore and delivers challah to other Holocaust survivors.
He still gives virtual talks to schools and universities about his experience.
Essentially, he says, “I want to do things for others.
I was lucky, having survived when so many didn’t, and I thank God every day for my blessings.
It’s important for young people to know what life was like and what good opportunities they have today”.
There can be no doubt that the horrors of the Holocaust (Shoah) should never be erased from our collective memory.
Quoting from the HET website “The Holocaust is today part of every child’s formal education in England.
The principal way in which children will learn about the Holocaust is through the National Curriculum for History”.
Freddy has been part of this programme and he can relate to his own experience as a young boy in Austria when in March 1938 the Nazis took power and incorporated Austria into the Third Reich.
This was known as the Anschluss – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anschluss.
These events would shape Freddy’s future and that of his family, especially being of Jewish background.
W Bro Freddy’s story has been published elsewhere on the web and is an amazing journey from the life of a lower middleclass child living in Austria, which would have been considered the centre of European Hochkultur, to a new life in an “alien environment.
Freddy recalls that what had taken five years in the German Reich of Hitler in terms of actions against the Jews and their disinheritance, only took moments and naturally came as a brutal shock.
The following link will describe how Freddy was evacuated from Austria and how things transpired when his family began their new life in England.
Being an Austrian Jewish child presented its own trauma – www.ajrrefugeevoices.org.uk/RefugeeVoices/Freddy-Berdach.
Many of those left behind were transported to the concentration camps set up as part of the so called “final solution”.
It is important that the younger generations understand the ever-present threat to those of a different religion and culture.
The Shoah still has a resonance in modern times.
FREDDY THE MASON –
W Bro Freddy was Initiated in 1960 in Lodge of Guiding Light, No. 7539 in London where he is an honourary member.
He subsequently joined Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541 and became a Middlesex Mason.
He was Installed as WM in 2002 and has presented several papers to the Lodge on the following subjects: – The Reich and the Craft; Ethics and Morals in Masonry; Haydn – Musician and Mason; Origins of Early Freemasonry as well many more lectures given elsewhere.
SURPRISE AND DELIGHT –
W Bro Freddy received the notification that he had been awarded the BEM which came as a surprise.
He is not only amazed and astounded, but also humbled at the honour bestowed on him which came out of the blue.
He will receive his medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex later in the year and will get to attend one of the Buckingham Palace Garden parties in the summer.
There is a lot more to tell but as Freddy has said to me, “you’re not writing a book”.
The Brethren of the Province of Middlesex salute you and also congratulate you on the Honour awarded.
He is a founder member of Kol Chai Reform Shul in Hatch End.
Of course, when Freddy left Austria the fate of Austrian freemasons would not have been something for a young lad to have been aware of.
However, The Grand Lodge of Austria has a history and there has been no shortage of “persecution” of freemasons over a long period of time – www.freimaurermuseum.at/en/history-of-freemasons-in-austria.html
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST –
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