Change Region:United Kingdom


News from the UK Branch

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

International Holocaust Memorial Day


For Holocaust Memorial Day, Russell Bowles looks at the story of three buildings in Amsterdam and the people in them, who saved Jewish children from certain death. One of the key rescuers, Johan Van Hulst, died only last year, aged 107. His story highlights what people with amazing courage can do for others.

In the Plantage area of Amsterdam during the war, three buildings in one street, and the people that worked in them, were instrumental in saving hundreds of Jewish children from being transported to death camps.  One was a theatre used by the occupying Nazis as a deportation centre. Across the road was a crèche used for the same purpose and next to the crèche was a teacher training college. All three played important parts in the rescue of hundreds of young children.

In the theatre, the Nazis had somehow overlooked the fact that the man in charge, named Walter Suskind, was of Jewish origin. Soon after starting work there, he noticed that without too much difficulty he could help children escape. He falsified numbers and this enabled him to save some, so that if say, 75 arrived, he would register only 60, thereby allowing 15 to escape.

In early 1943 his efforts became easier when the Nazis took over the crèche across the road for a similar purpose. Suskind found that the head of the crèche, Henriette Pimentel was also looking to provide a means of escape for her young charges. They joined forces, sneaking children to safety whenever a tram passed in front of their buildings.

Next door to the crèche was a teacher training college where a Gentile man named Johan Van Hulst was a lecturer. Pimentel persuaded him to join the rescue effort and then things really picked up speed. A hedge separated their buildings and the nurses in the crèche would pass the little ones over the hedge to Van Hulst. He then in turn would hand them over to the Resistance groups who helped to hide them. None of the escapees had been registered and so their disappearance was not spotted. However, in order for the rescue work to be successful, only small numbers could be saved and this was dependent on the majority being handed to the Nazis. It was excruciatingly painful deciding who was going to be saved and who was not. Van Hulst told a Dutch broadcaster, “Everyone understood that if thirty children came in, we could not save them all. We had to make a choice, and one of the most horrible things was to make that choice.”

One of the children Van Hulst and the rescue team saved was Lies Caransa, who was smuggled out of the crèche aged four, hidden in a bag. Most of her family was later killed at the Sobibor camp in Poland, but after the war she found her mother who had survived. “I was not allowed to say goodbye or hug my mother because that might make a scene,” she said. “I was just allowed to wave. I felt so lonely.”

In order for the rescue efforts to remain undetected, the team had to keep on uncomfortably good terms with the Nazis.  They had to continue with their day jobs and Van Hulst used to make friendly comments to the guards when they passed by. When the Dutch government wanted to close Van Hulst’s college he persuaded parents of students to contribute to it staying open, ostensibly so that education would be uninterrupted but really so the rescue work could continue. All this took place without him once telling his wife Anna, as he didn’t want her to possess compromising information.

Chance or the Hand of God also played a part in the success of the rescue work. A government inspector turned up at Van Hulst’s college one day without warning and she heard babies crying inside. Her curiosity was aroused but instead of her visit leading to a crisis, it actually became beneficial as she turned out to be a member of the Resistance and joined Van Hulst in the rescue effort.

The end of the rescue operation, when it came, happened suddenly. Henriette Pimentel, who headed up the crèche was arrested and died in Auschwitz in September of that year and the crèche closed. Not all the young ones could be rescued. “Try to imagine perhaps one hundred children standing there and you have to decide which ones you are going to save,” Van Hulst told a reporter in 2015.

After the crèche was shut down and the rescue work ended, the college continued to teach students and Van Hulst continued other work in the Resistance, later having to hide, with minutes to spare, after a tip off that the Nazis were coming to arrest him.

When the war ended, Van Hulst entered politics and spent 25 years as a Dutch senator and later on as a Member of the European Parliament from 1961 to 1968.  He remained active in politics and in education, writing many publications and winning a chess tournament at the age of 99! His college now houses the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam.  In 1972, Yad Vashem awarded him the title of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, an honour bestowed on Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the war.

While Van Hulst rarely spoke of what he did, others highlighted its significance. In 2015 Bibi Netanyahu told Van Hulst, “We say: a person who saves one life, saves a universe. You have saved many universes.”

Johan Van Hulst died on 22nd March 2018 aged 107


Celebrating Israel 70

The evening of 15th March saw the Jewish and Christian communities of NW England join together in a Night to Celebrate Israel. Joined by talented musical group ‘Shir’ (Song/poem in Hebrew) and gifted trumpeter, Sergio Frade, speakers gave testimony to the wonderful things Israel has achieved in her short history. Medical research has produced huge leaps forward and technical advancement has seen great investment by companies that are major world players. In the areas of politics and human rights Israel, they said, stands out in the Middle East as a beacon of fairness and humanity and is testimony to God’s promise to His people.

The Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham gave the gathering his greetings and celebrated the way the different faith communities in Manchester show tolerance toward one another. However, by far the most touching contribution was that by three Israeli Druze citizens, one of whom had lost his son last summer. A serving policeman on the Temple Mount, Sergeant Hail Stawi was shot and killed last summer by a terrorist and leaves behind a wife and baby boy. ICEJ has been privileged to provide Druze schools with equipment over the last few years and it was lovely, though moving, to hear from these three Arab supporters of the State of Israel. The gathered assembly stood to their feet to honour the fallen Druze policeman, acknowledging his father’s tribute and tears.

The evening ended with more music from ‘Shir’ and the audience participating in Israeli dancing and joyful flag waving.

Israel 70 - God's Miracle Timeline!

On Sunday 6th May ICEJ UK joined with Calvary Hephzibah Church and RCCG Strong Tower in Manchester to Celebrate Israel's 70th Birthday with special guest HE The Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev.



Please click here to view a PDF version and please contact us for more information.

The Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast June 2017


 On June the 6th and 7th this year I was privileged to be able to gather in Jerusalem with more than 500 Christian leaders, Politicians, Businessmen and Media representatives from around the world for the inaugural Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. This three day event was in part inspired by the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem, and the growing awareness that we are entering a new season of Judeo-Christian co-operation and partnership.

While hosting the group at his residence, President Rivlin said; "This is a significant convening … the meeting at the Knesset and here at my residence is important as we long to receive the prayers of Christians for Israel. Doing nothing is doing harm, and I know you will do something. Pray." 


Read more >

Root and Fruit - Testimony from Envision 2017
Back in January this year, I was blessed to attend the annual pastors and leaders conference in Jerusalem. While on the conference trip to Shiloh, I was praying at the site where the Ark rested when I saw a root on the ground. I picked it up and felt God say I should take it back home. My hope and prayer before going to Israel was that I would be able to be a blessing to that nation in some way, but also that I would be able to bring something of a powerful spiritual nature back to the UK.
I wasn't exactly sure how God was going to use it, but when I got back I knew I was to show people the root and share the story of how it came to be in my possession. I received some quizzical looks when I took it out the following Sunday during the sermon, but I explained that I was just being obedient to what God had said and that I was also honouring Israel.
Towards the end of the sermon, I started to pray for the Holy Spirit to come and for anyone who wanted to receive a touch from the Holy Spirit to come forward. I said I believed God had sent me back with something and I was to pray for anyone that wanted to receive what He had for them. 
Most of the congregation started to come forward. I wasn't sure what to do with the root, so I just gave it to one of the first people I prayed for and then people spontaneously started passing it round to others. It was a very powerful time, but it was the young people who were especially impacted. Nearly the entire youth group came forward for prayer and started gathering in circles to pray for each other, which was a first. A number of them started speaking in tongues for the first time. After praying for everyone, the young people then gathered round to pray for me. As they started to pray, one of them went out in the Spirit and she has been speaking powerfully and prophetically every since. She's 14.
A week later, I was preaching at our Student weekend. There were about 70 of them. I did the same thing: shared the story about the root and asked for anyone that wanted me to pray for them to come forward. They all did. In the end, they started to pray for each other - it was amazing to watch. The 14 year old
​ ​
from the previous week was with us and I couldn't hold her back! The meeting had gone on for some time and I tried to close it, without much success. But when I thought I finally had and went to sit down, 
 picked up the mic and started spontaneously preaching! It was quite a night and they haven't stopped talking about it since.  
One thing I have done while talking about the root is reminding people that, when they were born again, they were grafted into a different family tree. The roots of their family line are now found in Israel and go back to Jesus, David, Abraham, etc. What a family to belong to; what a heritage! So I tell them to boast now about your 'great uncle' Paul, and your 'great great great grandfather' Moses. With that heritage behind us, how can we fail? 
Lift your eyes and see...
More feedback:
As a conference and experience, Envision is quite exceptional in the scope that it incorporates and covers. To be with both Jewish and Arab believers who reside in the land, and to be alongside believers from across the globe, is truly inspirational.
Aside from the ministry in the conference context, the various outside visits are of huge value in garnering a greater understanding and feel for the nation and what it faces. 
I thoroughly recommend 'Envision' conference as a place of great connection and understanding of the land of Israel. 
I am challenged to re-think my theolgy regarding Israel, the Kingdom and the Chirch.  This is part of an on-going journey I have been on for at least two years.
I will seek to influence pastors with this message of the Kingdom and solidarity to Israel.

What spoke to me was the land, the people, the social/political backdrop, things like the BDS, the Holocaust… it’s like this trip has lit up my thinking in colour. 

I feel like God has just sharpened my sword it and cleaned it up, ready for me to go back into the fight again.


Please encourage your Pastors and Leaders to consider attending ENVISION 2018.  If you are a church leader we would be delighted to hear from you if you are thinking about going to Israel.

Visit of Gidon Sa'ar
ICEJ sponsored the visit of Gidon Sa'ar in partnership with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. Gidon served on Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet between 2009 and 2014, and was a founding member of the Caucus. He addressed Kingdom Faith Church on Sunday 21st May and shared on the vital importance of Christian support for Israel and on God's faithfulness and commitment to keep His prophetic word to Israel and particularly Jerusalem. Pastor Clive and Jane Urquhart were so welcoming and Gidon was very well received by the congregation; receiving a standing ovation which was very moving. Please click here to hear Gidon's talk which begins around the 24 minute mark.
          Gidon with Clive & Jane Urquhart and our ICEJ UK team member

Following a wonderful conference with Reverend Malcolm Hedding and Canon Andrew White, and our 4th annual Night to Celebrate Israel here are some photos to give you a flavour of the events.
 ICEJ UK Northern Conference - CITY OF GOD

An amazing night with music from Shir and Chip Kendall; keynote speakers Malcolm Hedding (ICEJ International Spokesperson) and Simon Johnson (CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council) and other guests.  Look out for details of next year's event celebrating Israel's 70th Birthday!

Our thanks to Jim Keelan for all these wonderful pictures, giving a flavour of the evening. © Jim Keelan















































Share this: