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  • Adam Soller

AJR thanks its volunteers

Every year The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) invites their London-based volunteers to a celebration to say ‘thank you’ for all they do. This year the event was held at the Wiener Library in central London and I was honoured to take photographs of the wonderful volunteers, AJR staff members and the team from the Wiener Library who hosted the evening.

AJR runs a number of volunteer-led projects through which people can give their time and support to their members, mostly first-generation Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi-persecution in Europe by coming to the UK. These initiatives include the My Story life-book project, befriending and computer help, among others. All incredible services which enhance the life of both the member and the volunteer. As the speaker, Nicky Goldman of the Jewish Volunteer Network (JVN) told the guests, volunteering makes you feel happier, healthier, more-fulfilled and can even reduce the likelihood of you getting asthma!

As well as a delicious buffet and glass or two of Pimms, guests were able to view the current photographic exhibition at the Wiener Library which is of the work of Gerty Simon, a German Jew who photographed many prominent people in her home town of Berlin, including Albert Einstein, before escaping Nazism and coming to England where she re-established her photographic studio and continued working. Her photographs are works of art and I was very pleased to have viewed the exhibition myself (it’s on until 15 October 2019).

Finally, the volunteers were invited to a short but fascinating introduction to the Wiener Library archives by their Senior Curator Dr Barbara Warnock. Despite the seriousness of the subject that both AJR and the Wiener Library deal with, it was so nice to see everyone take this opportunity to enjoy themselves and celebrate. I think that I managed to capture the positivity of the evening in my photos.


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