The hidden heroes of World War Two - Jewish veterans share their stories

For many Jewish people, any mention of the Second World War would bring nothing but the pain of memories for relatives lost in the horrors of that conflict.

But at the home of 96-year-old Alfred Huberman, the memories of that war are impossible to escape. Pictures of Churchill hang on the walls, while model RAF bombers proudly sit on cabinets alongside treasured photos of comrades.

“I was born a Jew, and I wanted to die a Jew if I was shot down,” Mr Huberman states, proudly wearing the medals of valour given to him for his services in the Royal Air Force.

He was fully aware of the fate that awaited him if he was captured by German forces during the war. But where others may have shied away from their heritage, Alfred ensured he was always wearing the dog tags that identified him a Jew.

He wasn’t alone. In fact, six per cent of the UK’s entire Jewish population signed up for the RAF during the Second World War.

“I couldn’t get in fast enough, I wanted to get in on the action. It was the honourable thing to do, to fight the Germans with all the terrible things they’d been doing the Jews,” Mr Huberman added.

“I’ve never regretted what I was doing.”

After the war, Mr Huberman settled in north London, eventually becoming a fashion designer for women’s clothing.

But while he looks back on his time serving with pride, there are also the memories of many lost friends and the terrifying bombings of industrial Germany.

Roughly half of all the people who signed up for the RAF’s Bomber Command died in the conflict.

Mr Huberman added: “It was dangerous. As a tail gunner you had to be alert the whole time and looking for any enemy aircraft. You couldn’t relax at all because the pilot could see what was in front of him.

“My last operation I shot one down. I got him trapped and her went down in flames. It really shock me, but I had one consolation. If I hadn’t have done, he’d have got me. I often get repeats, dreams about it, nightmares.”

It is stories of heroism like Mr Huberman that historians are hoping will change the perspective around the contribution of Jewish people towards the war.

The RAF Museum and Chelsea FC have joined forces in a bid to find more veterans like Mr Huberman and share their stories.

Three Jewish war heroes attended Chelsea’s match at Stamford Bridge last night for the launch of the Hidden Heroes programme. The club has started the scheme as part of its bid to tackle anti-Semitism in football.

The scheme is being funded by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Bruce Buck, chairman of Chelsea FC, said: “All of these people will soon no longer be with us. So it’s important to get these stories down so that generations that follow can understand the history.

“Sometimes history can repeat itself, sometimes we don’t want it to repeat itself so it’s important to have these stories so that the young people can hear them and learn from them.”