A father who was taunted for having Polish roots when growing up has been given an award for helping stamp out anti-Semitism.
Filip Slipaczek, of Bulwer Road, New Barnet, was presented with a Silver Cross of Merit with high distinction for his service in the field of Jewish and Polish relations in England.
The 56-year-old regularly hosts Kosher barbecues for members of both communities and has organised a range of meetings between ambassadors.
He was inspired to get involved after and feeling angry about the way he was bullied for having a Polish father as a child, and discovering he had Jewish roots.
After moving to Barnet from Hampshire in 1988, he realised there was a rift between the Jewish and Polish communities and decided to step in to help.
He said: “It wasn’t particularly easy growing up, I heard everything. I understand discrimination.
“I got fed up with anti-Semitism. I just wanted to put the message across, to bring a little bit of Poland to England.
“There was anti-Semitism in Poland, and so many problems between the two countries, I wanted to stop that.”
Mr Slipaczek invited Rabbi Maciej Pawlak, the first Polish-born Rabbi since the end of the Second World War, to London as proof that Jewish life in Poland has been rebuilt.
A financial advisor, he has also sponsored the restoration of Mykwa in one of the old Jewish culture centres in Nowy Sacz, Poland.
He helped twin Barnet's synagogue with Mozyk, the chief Rabbi of Poland’s synagogue in Warsaw, and invited Dr Sebastian Rejak, a foreign minister in Poland, to meet Finchley MP Matthew Offord.
On receiving the silver cross, he said: “There’s been a huge interest in this because we’ve got one of the largest ethnic minorities in Barnet.”
“It’s a great honour. I keep saying it’s not an award to me, it’s an award to my Jewish friends and colleagues.
“I couldn’t have done it without their help.”