Recently two residents from Jewish Care’s Clore Manor home in Hendon, Herman Katz and Maud Solskone celebrated their 100th birthdays. Both centenarians were joined by their children and grandchildren for birthday teas at the home where they were presented by Deputy Lieutenant of Barnet, Martin Russell with birthday cards from Her Majesty The Queen.
Herman moved to Clore Manor from his own home in Edgware in December last year. He was born the eldest of six children in Vienna, Austria on 30th July 2014, so he was delighted to receive a visit from the Social Attache of the Austrian Embassy, Trude Desmond, who came to read out and present him with a personal letter from the Austrian President, Heinz Fischer.
In his letter, the Austrian President sends Herman “warm congratulations on your 100th birthday”, wishing him, “happiness and good health”. He also refers with deepest regret to the reasons why Herman’s family had to leave Austria adding that thankfully they had a “better tolerant open society that respects human rights in Austria today”.
Herman’s family were forced to go into hiding in a children’s home shortly after the Anschluss on March 13 1938, when Austria became annexed into the Third Reich. His entire family fled Vienna one by one to England via Switzerland and arrived in Leeds, Yorkshire. He worked for Burton Tailoring and married his wife Anita in 1941, before moving to London where he sold linens to top London hotels. He started his own business in George Street and then Old Street selling industrial cloth for work clothes. His family moved from above their first shop to live in Maida Vale and then St John’s Wood before moving to Edgware.
Fellow centenarian, Rachel Maud Solskone, who is known as Maud, has lived at Clore Manor for 14 years. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 31st July 1914, the youngest of six children and the last surviving sibling. She grew up in Johannesburg where she was active in sports, playing hockey and swimming and was an accomplished piano player. After school she worked in Johannesburg, Durban and Newcastle (South Africa) as a sales assistant, window dresser and milliner amongst other occupations and married Isaac Soskolne in July 1938 at 24. They have two children Aubrey (1941) and Muriel (1944) who were brought up by Maud and her husband in the small town of Krugersdorp. Later she started working with her husband in his butcher shop doing the orders, deliveries and book-keeping for about 30 years.
In her younger years, Maud was an outstanding dressmaker making all her own clothes as well as her daughter’s. Her daughter, Muriel says, “She made the most amazing things and we have wonderful memories of all these clothes. I can remember sitting up with her all through the night, before I went on my first date with my husband-to-be, making a black velvet coat. I felt like a million dollars in it. Mum also made the most amazing homemade scones – jam and full cream at afternoon teas are still talked about and lusted for by friends and family all over the world.”
After Maud’s husband, Isaac retired, they moved to Johannesburg living close to her daughter and family. In November 1996 at the age of 82 Maud and Isaac decided to move with her daughter’s family and lived in a warden assisted block of flats in Redbridge. Then in December 2000 Maud’s husband of 62 years died leaving a large void in her life. She had been his carer for the last part of his life when he was unable to care for himself. She continued to live alone in her Redbridge flat until the age of 96 when Maud moved to Clore Manor close to where her daughter now lives. Today Maud has six grand-children and10 great grand-children who visit her and keep her updated on the news.
Maria Dziedziurska, Clore Manor Home Manager said, “It was wonderful to have two of our residents turn 100 within a day of each other. We really enjoyed celebrating this landmark birthday with Herman and Maud, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The have both seen so much across the continents, including two world wars in their lifetimes. They are remarkable living histories of the past century.”