Nachruf – Obituary Sam Pivnik

Nachruf – Obituary Sam Pivnik


Heute steht in der Jüdischen Allgemeinen mein Treffen mit Sam Pivnik, ZT’L  eines der letzten, die er machte. Und auch er war einer der Letzten, die noch lebten, einer jener wenigen, die Auschwitz überlebt hatten.

Der Text war nicht als Nachruf gedacht, sondern als Porträt, doch Pivnik verstarb leider letzte Woche zwei Tage vor seinem 91. Geburtstag.  Er erschien im Grunde als relativ heiterer Mensch, der im übrigen auch noch Interesse an der schicken Lederjacke seines Freundes Philip Appelby zeigte: “Wenn Du so eine nochmal siehst kauf mir eine”?

Nur am Ende des Interviews zeigte sich ein wenig Müdigkeit, und sein sein nicht so guter Gesundheitszustand kam zuvor, als er in Momenten der geistigen Abwesenheit spontan immer wieder sanft “Hilfe”, “Hilfe”, rief,  obwohl aüßerlich alles in Ordnung war.

Pivnik hatte Unsagbares mitgemacht, und als ob Auschwitz nicht genug gewesen wäre, nicht nur an einem der Horrororte des Nationalsozialismuses. Er überlebte wiederholt entgegen jeglicher rational denkbarer Möglichkeiten.

Das Glück des Überlebens und langen Lebens bedeutete jedoch nicht ein geradezu gutes  danach. Während er mit dem Verlieren der Toten der eigenen Familie zurechtkommen musste, und dem was er erlebt hatte, schaffte er es nicht im Arbeitsleben auf einen grünen Zweig zu kommen. Dem Fehlen des ausreichenden Unterhalts schrieb er das Fehlen einer Familiengrümdung zu, obwohl es laut seinem Freund Appelby nicht an interessierten potentiellen  Lebensgefährtinnen mangelte.

So war es das Altersheim, welches er schließlich als Paradis am Ende nannte, denn hier würde alles für ihn gemacht.

Sein Wunsch in Israel bestattet zu werden ist richtungsführend nicht nur für seinen Glauben daran, dass Israel richtig sei, sondern auch seinen Glauben an Gott trotz allem.

Pivnik ging nach Israel gegangen, weil es seiner  Schwester, die in der zionistischen Jugendbewegung war, und die vor dem Krieg auswandern wollte, von ihrem  Vaterverwährt wurde.  Sie wurde stattdessen in der  Shoa umgebracht. Er ging also für sie. Und sein Vater war ein tiefgläubiger frommer Jude. Auch er starb in der Shoa und Pivnik hielt für ihn am Glauben fest, trotz Fehler. In Auschwitz wäre Gott aber nicht, gewesen, schrieb er einst.

Der ganze Nachruf in der Jüdischen Allgemeinen kann hier gelesen werden


In the London wilderness

How an episode of the worst in London’s transport gave me a traditional Jewish Passover experience.

On Monday my daughter and I were invited for to the first Passover Night at friends who live near Crofton Park, which for us requires a journey from the North of London to the South.

I have everything checked and planned. Take the 17.22 Thameslink on Platform A at St. Pancras, ride 8 stops arrive at Crofton Park at 17.53. I do not do trips with my daughter on trains frequent, all I get to experience with her is at best the  Overground system, which is owned by TfL. So to my great surprise, I am held at the ticket entrance after holding my Oyster against the scanner by a station operator.


“Sorry Sir, have you got a ticket for the child?”

“She is 8, she does not need one, she never needed one before!,” I reply

“No this is not a TFL train, you need to get a ticket for her!”

I surrender and go to the ticket office, the queue is gigantic, in front of the machine is but one man. I take my daughter’s hand and we march on to the machine.

The man in front of us types S…t….Al.. then deletes it, types again. He has a few options. Then he starts pulling his mobile out. He searches for his destination. It takes a minute or so and it is St. Alban City. He pays with coins but one of the coins falls through and requires some reinserting. Finally our turn. I type in Crofton Park, Single. There is no option for child fare. I think, “oh the option might come up later”, it doesn’t, I backtrack, start again. Nothing, main menu maybe there is a discount option or something, but it is not to be seen. I ask my daughter to start queuing again for the ticket clerk, whilst I try again with the machine but fail. There are still three people in front, but eventually, we get served.

The clerk confirms, yes I do need a ticket for the child and it costs £2.20.

Finally, we get through the ticket barriers with my child’s ticket, a triumph, but the train we needed has left about five minutes ago.

I try to check for the next train, but there is no mobile phone signal down here. However, there is Wifi. I get connected, but my smart phone tells me that “I am connected, but there is no signal!”

I decide to take any train that goes to Blackfriars, an interjunction and do the mobile phone checking there as it is outdoors. We board and do that without problems. It is 18.40 by now.


When we arrive I check for the next train to Crofton Park and departs in 24 minutes. OK, enough time to buy flowers outside. Will my daughter be able to get back in with her ticket? No, but the man at the gate says it is OK as long as I come back to him. I smile, somebody human at last. On the wayout, my daughter spots a Beauty and the Beast Magazine at a newsagent and asks me if she can have it. We agree to buy it after the flowers, which we find at a Sainsbury’s Mini Supermarket opposite the Station. Paying is slightly complicated because it is a machine, and it does not recognise the flowers on the loading area, but we manage in the end, rush back to the station, buy the magazine, find the operator who let us out, who is enticed at the sight of the flowers and allows us back into the station platform area.


We then wait for the 18.04 to Sevenoaks, whilst I text my friends that we will be late. When the train  arrives there are business people who already wait strategically to rush in and gather a seat when the train arrives. I tell my daughter to hurry and get a seat for herself. She fails as grown ups oversee her and push her to the side in their own hope for a seat. Being polite she holds back, only to have three people take the seats she chose. She turns to the other side and there is but one seat left, I tell my daughter to take it, and she does, eager to read her magazine. I end up standing.


I check for directions​ on my phone again and it tells me to take a later train. Ah, surely it is unable to figure, that I am on the right train already, I think. With the train full to the brink I have no sight of the announcement board inside and just hear each individual station being individually announced.

There is no Crofton Park coming up… My daughter finishes reading the entire magazine. Thank goodness we bought that, I think.


The Train eventually stops in Beckenham Junction. “Dad, everyone is getting off, are we getting off?” I answer her no, as I  realise,  she is right. “OK, looks like we need to get off after all, but I do not know what is wrong with the train!?”


What now? Why did the train stop and where are we? I consult my phone again for the route to Crofton Park  and it comes up with a disappointingly complicated plan that involves two more trains. I ask a station operator, he confirms, we should take the next train to Shortlands, and then make our way back from there on another train to Crofton Park.

There is a train coming now on platform three. We rush to platform three, and are in Shortlands 5 minutes later, and looking at the time, we are now very late, I decide it is time for a taxi.


We leave the station and I look for a minicab station. There is none in sight on either side. So I think, not to worry, I order one from the phone, which however informs me now that, my battery has 15% charge left. Got to be quick now before the battery empties.


I try the service Gett first, which finds and orders black cabs, because I have a discount voucher. But after I typed in the destination no one picks up the job, and I can not see schema participating cabs in the area on the phone’s monitor. It seems this is an area where you do not want to hang out for business as a cabbie. 

Never mind, I figure, let’s try Uber instead. I type the destination in and get to payment. Unfortunately, the credit card details are old, so I try to update them, typing in my card details and all, but after typing in my post code it refuses to accept the card. After trying trice more, checking every detail, I give up. “Let’s take that train back to Crofton Park.” I tell my daughter, who is by now understandably somewhat anxious and holds my hand firmly.


I text my friends what’s happening and we take the train back to London that stops at Crofton Park at about 19.15 and we arrive in another ten minutes at my friends.


I am still not quite sure how we ended up in Beckenham Junction. It seems though that when we were at Blackfriars, thinking we board the correct train, we failed to realise that we actually boarded a late arriving train that was sandwiched in before the train actually wanted. Maybe though, I was by that time just bewildered and got it wrong? I am not too sure, and I won’t go and call the train operators, nor Gett and Uber (how long would that take?) to find out what the problem was in each case. I am sure however, I will ask others next time, to confirm to me, if this train goes where I wish to go and before boarding it, rather than just relying on what I think it is. For sure, there were problems also with the taxi Apps, and TfL could negotiate the London-wide free child travel also to be applied with national train operators like Southern Rail who cruise through London. But annoying though it was, somebody allowed me with a passing comment at the dinner to make sense of it all.

At the traditional Jewish Passover seder we remember the exodus from Egypt. One of my friends there joked on hearing our arrival story, that it took the Israelites 40 years of bewilderment in the desert toreach the Promised Land, so our journey was evidently our special little seder treat. I drank an extra glass to that! 

Jeden Penny 2x umdrehen – Turning every Penny twice

Diese Woche in der Jüdische Allgemeine: Jeden Penny zweimal umdrehen: Lebenserhaltungskosten für jüdische Menschen in Großbritannien liegen nach einen Bericht weit höher, als für Nichtjuden.



English: In Great Britain, and especially in London, the living costs of Jewish people are higher than those of non-Jews, a report found.



Daniel Zylbersztajn – 2015 Selektion

Some of my 2015 Photographs

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Text Selection 2015

Radio Feature DW Jewish Child Refugee  Martin Lubowski links und Frank Auerach mitte mit Kollegin (r)
 die-novemberpogrome-von-1938-gallerypicture-15_620x349 Reichskristallnacht und das Volk. (English Comment)
Interview: Die Überlebende: Marina Litvinenko, the survivor

Marina Litwinenko (Litvinenko) (c) All Rights Reserved Daniel Zylbersztajn 2015
Cynthia McDonald im Hintergrund, im Vodergrund Landy Richmond, mit Toechtern waehrend seiner Theraphie Back To Eden, London Rastafari Hair Couture from the Roots
World Capital for the Rich

1Hyde Park (15)
(c) All Rights Reserved Daniel Zylbersztajn 2015
Leitkommentar / Leading Comment Juedische Allgemeine  israel-flag
Sind heute beide tot. Der in Berlin geborene Hans Freund, und Enkel Jeremiah Duggan (damals 8 Jahre) am Sedertisch (Bild fuer J.A. mit freundl. Genehmigung der Familie)  Der Fall Jeremiah Duggan

Nie Wieder Keine Farbigen

01 Staying Power Anzeige am Black Cultiral Archives in Brixton (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn
01 Staying Power Anzeige am Black Cultiral Archives in Brixton (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Modell des Denkmals an die den transatlantischen Sklavenhandel. Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis (c)
Model of the slavery memorial that was planned for Hyde Park | Modellbüste des Sklavenhandeldenkmals
A Question of Remembering
Remembering Terror 1972


Picture Wikipedia:

2013-10-19 12.08.37-1
(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn
Schuhe selbst machen
 Ai Weiwei in London

Anish Kapoor & Ai Weiwei Selfie auf dem Marsch für Flüchtlinge (8 mile walk for refugees) ! (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Claridge’s Brook Penthousesuit, Bett Foto (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn 2015
London: Von Privatbuttler bus zur  Mausefalle  (from private buttler to a mat in a tent.
Frank Auerbach, the old master





Vorherige Jahre:

Previous Years Reviews

Selektion 2014

Selektion 2013

Schild zu Frank Auerbachs Studio(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn




Selektion  2012





Amy Film: mitreißend! Pulling you along without happy end!

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn (
Camden Square Amy Winehouse as Angel (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Meine Review des Amy WInehouse Films von Asif Kapadia wurde heute in der Jüdischen Allgemeinen veröffentlicht.

Siehe auch mein vorheriger Bericht zu Amy Winehouse Don’t Clip my Wings


My Review of the Amy Film about Amy Winehouse was published today in the German Jewish newspaper Juedische Allgemeine.  In it I write it pulls you along, even if you did not know her that much, like on a helter skelter without happy end.  In my opinion a must see, because of the fact that she was in ramp light of and the laughing stock of the world.  The movie reveals hard and challenging details, including about the way we consume media.

Contrary to other reports, I feel that her parents were quite ordinary people, evidently at times helpless and clumsy with both Amy Winehouse personal problems, as well as the later intensity of her stardom.

The film suggests rather thaat those who tried to make the most of her career financially, most of all her second manager Raye Cosbert operated potentially reckless with regard to her integrity and well being.

See also my report about Amy: Don’t Clip my Wings

Krapfen aus Golders Green – Dougnuts out of Golders Green

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My report in the Jüdische Allgemeine about arguably London’s best Hanukkah bakery in North London  Carmeli in Golders Green|

Mein Bericht zu ueber Carmeli in Golders Green, Nordlondons beste jüdische Bäckerei

Koscher Dinning im alten jüdischen Viertel Londons – Kosher meals reemerge in London’s old Jewish Quarter

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Hier weitere Fotos zu meinem Bericht in der Jüdischen Allgemeinen zum Restaurant 1701, das erste koschere Restaurant, seit dem das letzte vor fast 20 Jahren die Türen zu machte, denn viele jüdische Menschen leben jetzt anderswo.

Here more photos about my report in the German Jewish national paper, Die Jüdische Allgemeine.  1701 is the first koscher and Jewish restaurant in the Jewish East End since Blooms closed almost 20 years ago,  reintroducing a lost and common East London experience (you can translate the German inserting the link google translate)


JW3 Zentrum in London Jüdisches Kultur Zentrum. Jewish Centre JW3 opened in London

My article in Germany’s Jewish Paper documents my visit at the new JW3 Jewish cultural centre in London.
If you use googletranslate you can read it in any language.  The article is here

bitte hier

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Die Y-Wort Debatte (Sonntaz) – The debate about that Y-Word

English: the Four Frummers from http://www.fli...
English: the Four Frummers from Uploaded on March 3, 2006 by dcaseyphoto on Flickr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Der Fussballverein Tottenham Hotspurs hat ein Problem.  Die Fans bezeichnen sich als Yids, Juden auf Jiddisch.  Das trug unannehmliche Konsequenzen mit sich.  Wieso das so ist, und warum das zur Kontroverse führte, kann man in meinem “Stadtgespräch” Bericht in der Sonntaz nachlesen.

Hier Lesen:!124126/

ENGLISH: A report by me on the “Yids of Tottenham” and the issue with the “Y-word  in the current edition of the Sonntaz.  I lived in Stoke Newington, near Stamford Hill, between 1995 and 1998, and I am obviously Jewish.


Read here:!124126/

You can get the German translated by using googletranslate.  Just enter this link in the empty field to get all translated into English.



Juedische Allgemeine: Amy Winehouse: Don’t clip my wings”

German:  In diesen Artikel zeige ich wie sich London an Amy Winehouse erinnern will.English:  In this report I explain about numerous initiatives and places that are to remind London of the late Amy Winehouse.

Please use googletranslate if you do not speak German.  Simply insert the above link into google translate to get a reasonable translation in your own language.

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Jüdische Allgemeine: Bonjour London! (Französische Juden in London) | French Jews in London

Bericht in Deutsch


English notes:

When a Haaretz headline claimed that Jewish people from France leave their country for London and New York, due to anti-Semitism, I was asked by the JüdischeAllgemeine, given that I work in London, to have a closer look.  I learned that few journalists had actually been to the place, where French Jewish Orthodox people congregated to speak with people on the ground.  My report reveals that there was more to the story in the synagogue in St. John’s Wood than the panic headlines revealed.  Not only was anti-Semitism fuelling the French exodus, but also employment opportunities in the London City and the tax laws of Hollandes.  The link to the article is on the top.  Please get help from googletranslate if you can’t read German to get the entire article translated in one go into English.