Captain Edward Zeff MBE, Croix de Guerre

At midday on Thursday 30th March 2017, a blue plaque will be unveiled at Embassy Court in Brighton.

It is for Captain Edward Zeff MBE, Croix de Guerre and at the ceremony, which has been organised in conjunction with the Brighton and Hove Hebrew congregation, my husband will be unveiling the plaque.  He is one of the few remaining members of the Zeff family in the UK.  Edward was member of the SOE and acted as a wireless operator for several months in the Lyons area of France.  He was captured by the Nazis, interrogated, tortured and sent to the concentration camp at Melk and then Malthausen in Austria once his identity had been uncovered.  The official army papers relating to this episode of his life were released by the National Archives in 2005, having been closed for 60 years.

The files show that the authorities did not expect Edward to have survived once they learned he had been sent to a concentration camp.  Not only was he a British spy but he was a Jew as well and for this he suffered much at the hands of his captors.  However, he was still at Malthausen when the US army liberated the camp at the end of the war.  The files then give us his own account of his capture, his treatment and his survival.

My own research into the background, the personality and the family life of Edward has been an enlightening experience.  It has revealed a humble, intelligent and kind man with an extraordinary personality.  He was decorated by the UK and the French for his wartime contribution. He died in the 1973 in Paris.  The town of Brighton and its communities will be honouring him once again by installing the blue plaque on the wall of Embassy Court.


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