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Gisela raises a glass of whisky to 100th year

A member of the Jewish community has celebrated her centenary, marking her 100th birthday with a toast of her favourite tipple whilst enjoying a party surrounded by friends and family.

Gisela Feldman shared her big day with fellow tenants, residents, and the team at Belong Morris Feinmann care village, Didsbury, south Manchester, where she resides. Her special party featured gifts and birthday cake, alongside her congratulatory card from their Majesties, King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Speaking of the secret to a happy life, Gisela Feldman candidly said: “A drop of whisky every night!”

Along with younger sister, Sonja, Gisela has dedicated her life to Holocaust education and both sisters were awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2020 New Years Honours list.

The pair fled Nazi persecution in 1939, along with 900 Jews, travelling via sea to Cuba on a journey now coined the ‘Voyage of the Damned.’ The ship was denied entry to the country and later, the USA, forcing it back to Europe where some of the refugees were rehomed throughout the continent. Others less fortunate lost their lives, along with the sisters’ father and 30 of their relatives.

 

Belong’s Experience and Cultural Co-ordinator, Angela Luckett, said: “Gisela is a very special lady with an incredible life story and it was a delight to bring her family, including those all the way from America, and her friends together in the village to celebrate her big day. She is an inspiration to all of us, with her readiness to share her personal experiences and commitment to keeping alive the memory of those lost in the Second World War.”

Last year, Gisela and Sonja’s stories were documented alongside portraits prominently displayed in Belong Morris Feinmann’s synagogue. The special exhibition shares the experiences of five Holocaust refugees and a survivor living at the care village, honouring them and the millions who suffered persecution at the hands of the Nazis in World War II.                    

Their home’s foundations were borne out of the community’s plight, having originally been set up by Jewish refugee, Morris Feinmann, to help Jews fleeing Europe in WWII to settle in Manchester. Today, it is operated by not-for-profit dementia specialist, Belong, with care provided for those of all faiths, though primarily for the Jewish community, supporting them in observing and celebrating the Jewish way of life.            

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