@CornerstoneJamaica - Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project (Watch Video Below)

Ainsley Cohen Henriques and David Matalon, both leaders of the United Congregation of Israelites of Kingston, Jamaica, helped me to restore the grave of my beloved sister Yvonne in 2014. At the time of Yvonne’s untimely death at four years old in June of 1942, there was no rabbi nor prayer books, just two devastated parents, Hala and Ignas Krakowiak. at her grave site in the Orange Street Cemetery. (Photos taken 1942, 1960 and June 2014 below).

Thank you to @GaryRobinson (see video below) who was there in November of 2016 to document the Gibraltar Evacuee Camp, a camp created for 1500 Gibraltarians who were evacuated by the British before the fighting would begin in the Mediterranean. Prof. Diana Cooper-Clark organized a reunion of refugees, who were sent to the camp for their protection in 1942, on the occasion of her book launch in November 2016. Inez Baker, fifteen years old at the time she was evacuated to the camp, was the only one of the original evacuees who was able to attend the reunion. She came with her two sons to remember.

I represented my parents, my aunt and uncle and my sister. The Kaddish that was never said at the time of her death was intoned by a very special man, Eli Gabay (see minute 4:14 of the video attached below). I want to thank Diana’s best friend Margaret Thompson (former director of the Jewish Book Fair of Toronto), Anna Ruth Henriques (talented jewelry artist), Amy Wachtel (the soulful radio-jocky Night Nurse), Kathryn Kates Casavant (delightful Canadienne journalist), Inez Baker and her family and Robert Jacobvitz (Chair of the @SousaMendesFdn Advisory Council) for honoring me with their participation on that memorable day.

Approximately 20 persons (and maybe more) were among the evacuees who were rescued first by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and a second time by the JOINT (American Joint Distribution Committee) and supported by the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).

For more about Jamaica:
Dreams of Re-Creation in Jamaica: The Holocaust, Internment, Jewish Refugees in Gibraltar Camp, Jamaican Jews and Sephardim by Prof. Diana Cooper-Clark

If I’m Not back By Wednesday by Geoffery Haddad

L to R: Alan (Gary’s cameraman), Gary Robinson. Margaret Thompson, Diana Cooper-Clark. Amy Wachtel, Itzhak Halperin, Joan Halperin, Inez Bakers’ son (behind Joan), College student reporter on Gary’s Team, Robert Jacobvitz.

L to R: Alan (Gary’s cameraman), Gary Robinson. Margaret Thompson, Diana Cooper-Clark. Amy Wachtel, Itzhak Halperin, Joan Halperin, Inez Bakers’ son (behind Joan), College student reporter on Gary’s Team, Robert Jacobvitz.

L to R: Amy, Joan and Margaret with Joan’s book   My Sister’s Eyes,   a tribute to Joan’s sister Yvonne (pictured on the cover).

L to R: Amy, Joan and Margaret with Joan’s book My Sister’s Eyes, a tribute to Joan’s sister Yvonne (pictured on the cover).

Joan presents a plaque from the Sousa Mendes Foundation (SMF) to the Israelite Community of Jamaica in recognition of the role members of the community played in making life better for the Jewish residents of Gibraltar Evacuee Camp from 1942 - 1946, when the last evacuees left Jamaica.  L to R: Ainsley Henriques, Itzhak Halperin, Joan and Robert Jacobvitz, Chair of the SMF Advisory Council.

Joan presents a plaque from the Sousa Mendes Foundation (SMF) to the Israelite Community of Jamaica in recognition of the role members of the community played in making life better for the Jewish residents of Gibraltar Evacuee Camp from 1942 - 1946, when the last evacuees left Jamaica.
L to R: Ainsley Henriques, Itzhak Halperin, Joan and Robert Jacobvitz, Chair of the SMF Advisory Council.

Top - 1942 - The way Hala and Ignas left the grave. Bottom left - 1960 - The way they found it when the visited, Bottom right - 2014 -The way Joan found Yvonne’s grave. Joan could only identify Yvonne’s grave by its position in the cemetery.

Top - 1942 - The way Hala and Ignas left the grave. Bottom left - 1960 - The way they found it when the visited, Bottom right - 2014 -The way Joan found Yvonne’s grave. Joan could only identify Yvonne’s grave by its position in the cemetery.