Battle of Britain hero denied recognition as Jew

Battle of Britain hero denied recognition as Jew

For the JC July 2020

A 16-year campaign to recognise the Jewish heritage of a Battle of Britain pilot has ended in disappointment, after the Battle of Britain monuments team ruled out any change to its memorial in London.

Geoffrey Ernest Goodman was born in Haifa, on August 10 1920, when Palestine was ruled by the British mandate authorities. His father was Sydney Goodman, of British nationality, and his mother was Bida Lerner, born in Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Goodman and his twin sisters were all registered as British citizens.

But in fact, argues Ajex archivist and historian Martin Sugarman, all the children were entitled to dual nationality as British-Palestinians and he has obtained a copy of Flying Officer Goodman’s Hebrew birth certificate, issued by the Haifa municipality.

Goodman is listed as British on the Battle of Britain monument, which bears the names and countries of origin of all who took part, but Mr Sugarman says he should be recorded as “British-Israeli or British Palestinian” and that the Israeli Air Force regard Goodman as “their first flying ace”.

Edward McManus, from the London monument team, advised that, with nearly 3,000 names on the memorial, there was “no prospect of post-unveiling correction”, and said the fact that Goodman’s family had not referred to his Jewish background “takes precedence” but Mr Sugarman dismissed this as “denial”.

  • 31 July, 2020