At Centre 404 on Sunday 5th May, Moshe Nurtman and his family gathered to see a new plaque unveiled – and this time all the names were included.
The story starts in Poland 1942 when Moshe escaped capture by the Nazis by hiding in the woods. Unfortunately, his family, his parents and all his siblings died in concentration camps. Moshe himself spent periods in concentration camps. When the camps were liberated, he came over to England along with 732 orphaned child survivors of ghettos and concentration camps in Nazi occupied Europe. They were offered refuge in the UK by the British Government at the end of World War II. Eventually, Moshe successfully settled and became a business man in the textile business and years later, donated some money towards building a new hall for a charity.
Jean Willson, Chair of Centre 404 told a new member of staff that she had always wanted to find out if any members of the Nurtman family were still in London. The staff member got in touch with the Jewish Chronicle, who got in touch with Moshe’s family. They then passed their names onto Centre 404, who emailed Victoria, Moshe’s daughter-in-law with a photo of the plaque. Victoria replied immediately saying Moshe was still alive, and that the family were delighted that Centre 404 were in touch, and would certainly like to meet up. However, she pointed out that Benjamin, one of Moshe’s brothers’ name was missing. The family offered to buy a new plaque with all Moshes’ family names Israel and Sarah Nurtman his parents, Benjamin and Samuel, his brothers and Rose and Esther his sisters.
So, on Sunday, Moshe, who is a sprightly 95-year-old, his sons Mickey, Saul and Howard and their families; some of Moshe’s friends including Ben Helfgott one of ‘The Boys’ the original orphaned children; Linda McGowan CEO Centre 404, Jean Willson Chair, Norman and Tara Willson and Sandra and Ralph Rosen came together.
Three of Moshe’s grandchildren then excitedly unveiled the new plaque on the events’ hall, and, after 46 years, at last, all the Nurtman family names were there on the plaque. It was an emotional time for the family. Moshe then went onto to tell the group that when he was young man, he had a friend called Yogi Meyer who was Islington council’s Youth Grants Officer. It was Yogi who, in 1971, suggested to Moshe that he give a donation towards building a new hall for youth clubs and events at Centre 404. This would be in memory of losing all his family killed in Treblinka concentration camp in 1942. Moshe went on to say that Yogi had had a plaque made, and arranged for it to be displayed in Centre 404’s hall where it had been hanging since 1972, but he had never seen it.
Moshe and his family were delighted with the new plaque and meeting members of Centre 404.
Jean Willson said that Centre 404 were very grateful to Moshe for that legacy given so many years ago, and that the hall had hosted so many wonderful things for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families, and that she hoped to keep in touch with Moshe and his family.