Remembering a Jewish fireman and hero
by: Leonard Stern - Last updated: 2003-07-07
Remembering Abraham Lewis
People hurrying to Petticoat Lane market in London on Sunday the 6th of July 2003 were surprised to see an unusual amount of activity at the Whitechapel Fire Station in the East End. Over 200 people had gathered to remember Abraham Lewis, a Fireman.
He had died from his injuries received while fighting a fire during one of the heaviest Air Raids London had experienced in the Blitz of May 1941.
The occasion was arranged by an organisation called Firemen Remembered in conjunction with The Association of Jewish ex-servicemen and women (AJEX)
It was a moving memorial, conducted by Reverend Alan Greenbat OBE. A plaque was unveiled by Abraham Lewis`s daughter Helena Fox, who speaking with emotion, thanked the organisers for the ceremony. The last post was sounded by Neil Martin and the Kaddish recited by Andrew Fox and Benjamin Lewis, grandsons of the deceased. The plaque will be placed in the foyer of Trinity House, close to where Abraham Lewis performed his heroic act.
The Station Commander Phil Lawrence speaking to a packed audience of dignitaries including the Mayor of the Borough, Fire-fighters and ex Firemen, relatives of the deceased and many friends said "The Community owed a great debt to those who had served in those dark days, and helped the country to final victory. I am proud to associated with this event".
Later speaking to one of the gentlemen who trained the Auxiliary Fire Service for their duties at that time, a sprightly man of 92, I was surprised to be told that in some of the Fire Stations set up to deal with Blitz in the East End, Jewish Firemen made up no less than 82% of the complement. They served with great distinction and were disbanded in 1945.