Search

First World War centenary: The Newbury Park rabbi whose relatives fought for kaiser not king

12:00 01 June 2014

Isak Halberstadt (right) with an unknown soldier. Isak survived the war. [Picture: Rabbi David Hulbert]

Isak Halberstadt (right) with an unknown soldier. Isak survived the war. [Picture: Rabbi David Hulbert]

Archant

Two men pose proudly in their new uniforms, ready to do their duty for their country in the First World War.

Josef Rothschild, who fought for Germany during the First World War. He was killed in 1914. [Picture: Rabbi David Hulbert]Josef Rothschild, who fought for Germany during the First World War. He was killed in 1914. [Picture: Rabbi David Hulbert]

But these soldiers were not to fight for King George V – their allegiance was to the other side.

Rabbi David Hulbert’s grandfather Isak Halberstadt and his brother-in-law, Josef Rothschild, served for Germany during the conflict.

They were among many Jewish people who served during the war, only to be turned upon when the Nazis came to power in 1933.

Rabbi Hulbert said: “They fought on the wrong side, for kaiser not for king, and were ready to give up their lives for the Fatherland.

“People were very proud of their country in those days, they went absolutely crazy for war; which people tried to forget on both sides.”

Josef fought on the Western Front, but Isak took on a different role because of his age.

Rabbi Hulbert, from Bet Tikvah Synagogue in Newbury Park, said: “Josef was a much younger man. My grandfather did kitchen duties – he did his bit for his country but he was much older, he must have been in his 40s.”

Josef was killed in action in 1914 and buried in the German military cemetery at La Bassee. Isak lived through the conflict and died in Germany in 1939.

Rabbi Hulbert added: “I just wish I had met them; I didn’t even know my grandfather as he died before I was born. All I have are the photographs.

“The only thing my father told me was when he was a little boy he remembered at the end [of the war] when all the Germans starved because the Royal Navy stopped all the food coming in.

“Britain starved Germany into submission and they were surprised they lost the war so suddenly.”

Latest Ilford News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00
Our reporter Matt Clemenson with Keith Prince and Peter McNaught, Operational Director of the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Lines on board the first official Night Tube from Kings Cross station.

Last weekend, Reporter Matthew Clemenson joined Redbridge’s London Assembly member Keith Prince on a tour of the new 24-hour service. Here is his full account.

Yesterday, 10:00
Mrs Miller on the set of 833 (Picture: Alan Gignoux)

An Ilford man has drawn on his experiences of working as a banker and living with a disabled mother to create a short film to be screened at the San Jose international film festival later this year.

Yesterday, 07:00
Ilford fire station hosting a community safety in 2014. Photo: Arnaud Stephenson.

Three men have been convicted for their involvement in the theft of fire-fighting equipment worth over £100,000 from fire stations in the borough and across London.

Fri, 18:38
Pupils open their results at Beal High School

The hill was alive with the sound of ripping envelopes as pupils gathered on the green to find out their latest GCSE grades.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now