Ilkley Civic Society has unveiled a new Blue Plaque at Loxleigh on Mount Pleasant to commemorate the forgotten history of Jewish refugees in Ilkley over 80 years ago.
The ceremony also included the planting of a new oak sapling by the Association of Jewish Refugees in nearby Belle Vue Garden.
They commemorate the usage of Loxleigh House as a hostel for Jewish children escaping from Nazi Europe at the outset of World War 2.
In the Spring 1939 Jewish boys came on the Kindertransport from Germany and Austria. They were supported by Ilkley and Bradford residents. After the war the hostel was a safe home for Jewish orphans to help them recover and decide where they wanted to live their lives.
Over 100 people gathered on 27th January, Holocaust Memorial Day, to see the plaque ‘unveiled’ and the tree planted. This was one of 80 oak trees planted across the UK. Those in attendance at Ilkley included the Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Mullaney, local councillors, members of the Jewish communities in Leeds and Bradford, local school children and members of Ilkley Civic Society.
People were welcomed by Albert King. There were moving speeches from Rabbi Gilbert, Hanneke Dye - members of whose family died in Auschwitz - and Michael Eaton whose father had been a refugee at Loxleigh.
Alex Cockshott gave details of the history of Loxleigh and some of its residents: “Until recently very little was known about the hostel in Ilkley and the children who stayed there, but the Civic Society hopes that publicity surrounding this event will encourage people to come forward with more information and memories. Some of these have already come to light and will be documented. We now know where some of the boys went to school and how they went on to successful careers.
“If you have information or even photographs of the hostel, that you would like to share please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“Thanks go to Mr Michael Eaton who co-sponsored the plaque and to the Waterland family who now live at Loxleigh.”