Two “remarkable” 100-year-olds celebrated their landmark birthdays together.
Centenarians Herman Katz and Maud Solksone, who live at Jewish Care’s Clore Manor Home, in Hendon, were born the day after each other in 1914.
They were both joined by their children and grandchildren for birthday teas and presented with birthday cards from the Queen and the Deputy Lieutenant of Barnet, Martin Russell.
Mr Katz, who was born in Vienna, Austria, also received a visit from the social attache of the Austrian Embassy, Trude Desmond, who presented him with a personal letter from Austrian president Dr Heinz Fischer.
The grandfather was forced to flee the country with his family during the Second World War, and the president said he was “very saddened” to hear about Mr Katz’s suffering in his birthplace.
However, in 1996 he opted to re-establish his Austrian citizenship. The president’s letter read: “With the generousness of your heart you set a sign for hope for a better and more tolerant future.
“We must never stop working towards an open society which honours the human rights.”
His family were forced to go into hiding in a child’s home in 1938, when Austria became annexed to the Third Reich, before the family fled one by one to England via Switzerland.
He married his wife, Anita, in 1941 before having two children and moving to London where he sold linens to top London hotels.
After his wife passed away in 1996, he kept busy by attending the Association of Jewish Refugees and Stonegrove Social Club four days a week.
Daughter Valerie, who now lives in Edgware, said: “He is always happy to help other people, he was driving his car well into his 90s chauffeuring people much younger than him.”
Fellow centenarian, Rachel Maud Solskone, has lived at Clore Manor for four years.
She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the youngest of six children and the last surviving sibling. An accomplished piano player, she also enjoyed playing hockey, swimming and her various jobs as a sales assistant, window dresser and milliner.
She married Isaac Sokolne in July 1938 and they had two children, Aubrey and Muriel, and began work at her husband’s butcher shop.
After her husband, Isaac, retired in 1996 they moved to Redbridge before Maud’s husband died in 2000, after 62 years of marriage.
The great-grandmother moved into Clore Manor at the age of 96.
Maria Dziedziurska, Clore Manor home manager, said: “They have both seen so much across the continents, including two world wars in their lifetimes. They are remarkable living histories of the past century.”