Tony Greenstein | 18 November 2011 | Post Views:

A childhood refugee from Nazism who opposed racism by and against Jews

It is with great sadness that I have learnt of the death of Hanna Braun, a childhood survivor of the Nazis and someone who took the message of anti-racism to her heart. That if racism against Jews was wrong, then it was equally wrong if perpetrated by Jews. Hanna and her family fled to Palestine, then under the British Mandate, in 1937 and in 1958, disgusted by the everyday racism under Labour Zionism she emigrated to England where she lived until she died. Tony Greenstein Below are 2 obituaries by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a friend, Sara Irving. PSC members will be saddened to hear that staunch campaigner Hanna Braun has died aged 84, shortly after the publication of her book Weeds Don’t Perish: Memoirs of a Defiant Old Woman. Born in Berlin in 1927, Hanna lived through major political events and upheavals. In 1937 her parents took her to Palestine, where, having witnessed the horror of the Nakba, began her political journey toward anti-zionist activism. Hanna will be greatly missed by her family, her many friends and all in PSC who will always remember her passionate campaigning for the Palestinians, her commitment to human rights and anti-racism, her love of music and dabke dancing and her enthusiastic participation in demonstrations, meetings, and conferences. We send our condolences to her daughters, Dorit and Gaby, and her grandchildren. Watch Hanna Braun and Ghada Karmi in discussion at her book launch* at Tottenham Palestine festival in September 2011 Weeds Don’t Perish is published by Garnet, ISBN number 9781859642641 Hanna’s book is available at Garnet Publishing: Weeds Don’t Perish – Memoirs of a Defiant Old Woman Author: Weeds don’t Perish is the story of Hanna Braun; a passionate, wry, rebellious woman with a zest for life. Hanna Braun RIPToday I learned some sad news of the death of Hanna Braun. Hanna was an amazing woman and a wonderful example of the principled stance some members of the Jewish community havetaken against the State of Israel’s attempts to appropriate their identity and legacy for its own political ends.
Born in Berlin, Hanna was taken to Israel by her parents in the 1930s to escape Nazi Germany (one of her grandmothers eventually died in the Terezin – Theresienstadt – death camp). She became a member of the Haganah, the Israeli armed forces who overran Palestine in 1948 and established the State of Israel. Disillusioned by Israel, Hanna came to the UK in 1958 and her political journey took her, by the 1980s, to active Palestine solidarity work. I had the privilege of working alongside Hanna when we both joined the Christmas 2001 ISM call for internationals to come to the West Bank, then a year into the Second Intifada. I remember her as a dainty woman, always immaculately dressed and wearing neat little boots and perfect lipstick even when the rest of us seemed to have managed to get covered in mud and clay from digging out roadblocks. Then in her mid-70s, she always did an fantastic job of diverting Israeli soldiers when they tried to harass Palestinian villagers and their ISM supporters; the soldiers never seemed to know quite what to do with this tidy little woman who could well have been their grandmother and who told them Yiddish jokes about Polish people and herring. She had, I seem to remember, a wickedly dry sense of humour. Hanna’s death comes close on the heels of the publication of her autobiography, Weeds Don’t Perish: Memoirs of a Defiant Old Woman, by Garnet Publishing.

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Tony Greenstein

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