World Jewish Relief marked its 90th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Roundhouse in Camden on Tuesday, attended by a high-profile crowd that raised £1.8 million for the charity.
The event was produced by theatre and film director Sir Nicholas Hytner, with broadcasters Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel serving as hosts.
The guest list included the Chief Rabbi, the Israeli and German ambassadors, comedian David Baddiel, and actor Elliot Levey. Survivors who were rescued by the organisation in the 1930s and 40s under its original name, the Central British Fund, were also in attendance, alongside people who have been helped to flee recent conflicts.
A documentary film presented by Sir Simon Schama chronicled WJR’s nine decades of relief work, while other videos highlighted the stories of a farmer in Nepal and an Afghan refugee in the UK who have been supported by the charity. A further film showed frontline humanitarian worker Oleksiy Tolkachov delivering the first aid consignments from WJR into Ukrainian areas that had been liberated from the Russians but were completely destroyed.
Speaking at the event, charity chair Maurice Helfgott noted the speed and quality of WJR’s response to recent humanitarian emergencies in countries including Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Colombia. He said that the charity had responded immediately and effectively to these crises, while also delivering a refugee assistance programme in 23 UK cities.
WJR’s biggest relief operation since the Nazi era was prompted by the crisis in Ukraine, with around 188,000 people helped. Ukrainian refugee Sabina Artemieva, who now works for the charity, said: “Relief came to me with World Jewish Relief.”
Another speaker at the event was Sir Clive Alderton, private secretary to King Charles, who read a message from the King, WJR’s patron. The message praised “the tremendous example set by World Jewish Relief over the last 90 years” for both the Jewish and wider community. Photo by President.gov.ua, Wikimedia commons.