Albert Bedane

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Albert Bedane
Mr Bedane's house as it was when he worked there as a physiotherapist
Mary Richardson, hidden by Albert Bedane for over two years


Albert Bedane (1893–1980) lived in Jersey during the German occupation during World War II, and provided shelter to a Jewish woman and others, preventing their capture by the Germans.

Family

The son of French sculptor Victor Bedane and Jerseywoman Alice Maud Morley, he was born in Angers in France in 1893 after the couple had returned when Victor Bedane's work on the new St Thomas' Church was complete. The widowed Alice returned to Jersey with her children in 1894 and Albert was brought up in the island. He served in the British Army 1917-1920 and was naturalised as a British subject by the Royal Court of Jersey in 1921. By profession he was a masseur/physiotherapist.

He married Clara Isobel Knowlman (nee Cornier), a widow, and they had one daughter. After Clara's death he married Eva Doris Walker, widow of Samuel Cooper.

Occupation

During the German Occupation he helped escaped slave workers, making use of his slight knowledge of Russian and providing them with medical treatment and shelter. F A Le Sueur, who escaped from Jersey to France in 1944, wrote to the Jersey Evening Post about him:

"I should like to pay tribute to one Jerseyman to whom I have every reason for being eternally grateful for all his help when I was most in need. In the autumn of 1944 Mr A Bedane, the well-known physiotherapist, hid me from the Nazis for two weeks at his premises in Roseville Street, and also gave me treatment for severely bruised heels. Without his help I should never have managed to escape to France. He also helped, sheltered and fed several other escaped prisoners of various nationalities, notably a Dutch Jewess [Mary Richardson] whom he hid for over two and a half years. This feat surely merits recognition in some form or other when one takes into consideration the risks that Mr Bedane had to face over such a prolonged period and the fact that his then residence in Roseville Street was simply a private house, even if a large one, and did not present the same possibilities for concealment as the ordinary farm with all the outbuildings."

Recognition

In 1965 he was presented with a gold watch by the Russian Government in recognition of his efforts to save escaped Russian forced workers but it was to be twenty years after his death before he received his greatest honour. In 1999 an application was made for his posthumous recognition by the State of Israel. This application, jointly made by the Holocaust Education Trust and the Jersey Jewish Congregation, was endorsed by Professor David Cesarani, Director of the Wiener Library and Lord Jakobovits, the late Chief Rabbi.

On 4 January 2000, after the matter had been considered by an Israeli Supreme Court judge, Albert Bedane was duly recognised and his name is now inscribed in the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem as 'Righteous among the Nations', Israel's highest Holocaust honour. The medal was presented to his grandson in London and is now on permanent display at the Maritime Museum.

Albert Bedane remains the only British subject recognised as Righteous Among the Nations for an act of heroism carried out on British soil.

In 2010, Albert Bedane was posthumously named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Governnment.

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