Tribute to Holocaust survivor Judy Benton

02 Apr 2021

Jewish Care pay tribute to Holocaust survivor, centenarian and grandma to Marc the Vet, Judy Benton who passed away eight days after celebrating her 100th birthday at Jewish Care’s Wohl Court retirement living apartments.

Born Monday 22 March, Judy, who grew up in Meissen near Dresden in Germany, had a happy childhood however, her life changed when the Nazi's came to power in Germany.  In 1939, Judy arrived home, aged 17, to discover that her family had been taken by the Gestapo and tragically, she later learnt that they had perished in Auschwitz.

Knowing that her life was in danger, Judy went to the local synagogue who told her that a Kindertransport train was leaving that night from Leipzig and to try to be on it, though Judy had no official papers to travel with. When she arrived, parents asked her to look after her children which gave her the idea to go to a fancy-dress shop to buy a nurse’s uniform thinking that German guards would assume she was travelling with the children. Parents gave her their children to take charge of when they were leaving Germany on the Kindertransport and Judy escaped. When she arrived in the UK, Judy sowed uniforms for soldiers during World War II and settled in the UK where she met her husband Julius.

Judy’s daughter, Ruth Abraham, says, “My mum always wanted to celebrate her 100th birthday and I’m so pleased we were able to do that with her. It was very important to her that she did that and she made it. I am very grateful to everyone at Jewish Care and the organisation’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and AJR for everything they have done for my mother.”

“Mum always enjoyed going to the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, it’s the main reason she wanted to live at Wohl Court, so she could be down the road. So it was really special that after she had celebrated her 90th birthday with the members there ten years ago, she was able to connect with the members on Zoom for her 100th birthday.

“She was incredible, going through what she’s been through; she was a real survivor. She always worked hard and was very creative. She was a fantastic crocheter and used to make hats for neo-natal babies, blanket squares and wine bottle covers. She liked telling jokes and making people laugh.

“Mum always liked going to shul. She’s very traditional and loved talking to Jewish Care’s Rabbi Junik, hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah and shaking the lulav on Succot.”

Judy leaves two children, David and Ruth, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. David’s family live in America. Ruth’s children are Danielle Kohn, who is it an accountant, and Marc Abraham, Marc, known as Marc the Vet, veterinary surgeon, TV presenter, author, and animal welfare campaigner who changed the law on 3rd party puppy sales with Lucy’s Law. 

Marc says, "I’m so incredibly proud of my Grandma Judy. A truly amazing lady who taught me that anything's possible and to never give up; the inspiration behind all my campaigning for animal welfare." says the vet, Judy’s grandson.

Rabbi Junik said, Jewish Care’s Cultural and Spiritual Advisor, said, “Judy was a very inspirational role model to us all. It took tremendous confidence when, as a teenager, Judy thought on her feet to survive and ended up being a source of comfort to many parents who were sending their children away on the Kindertransport.

“It has always been an honour to be involved when Judy has taken part in the traditions around the Jewish festivals at Wohl Court which she always enjoyed. She was very engaged talking on her birthday Zoom just last week and it was very special that we were able to facilitate her celebrating her 100th birthday with her family and friends. We wish all the family long life.”