Today at Sage Nursing Home we had the honour of celebrating a very special 100th Birthday. Hannah was born in Southern Germany, in a small town called Karlsruhe. Hannah had a happy childhood with her one brother and sister.
Hannah and her siblings attended a school with other Jewish Students and attended Jewish classes in the school. They were happy in the school until things started to happen to the Jewish students. They were excluded from certain activities and Hannah’s brother suffered terrible Antisemitism from his classmates, Hannah and her sister were also bullied.
In the apartment block where Hannah and her family lived there was a man who was a member of the Gestapo. Amazingly it was him who encouraged Hannah’s family to escape Germany whilst they could, even going to the lengths of helping them obtain papers and leaving Germany. Hannah and her family left all their belongings and escaped the country to live in Coventry.
As a child and teenager Hannah was very athletic, and had dreams of competing in the Olympics. She was also a talented seamstress.
After the war ended her family moved to Hendon in London, but Hannah decided that she needed to go back to Germany to help with the after war effort. It was there that she met her husband.
Hannah and her husband moved to Edgware where they lived for a while, then later, moving to Birmingham for her husbands work. Sadly, Hannah’s husband suffered from a stroke and Hannah looked after him for 17 years.
After her husband passed away, Hannah became a volunteer for Birmingham social services, she was a beloved member of the team. Hannah’s role and dream was to give carers a voice and rights. She made such an impact that she was nominated by her colleagues to receive a MBE from the queen. Hannah attended the Palace to receive her MBE. There is also a suite named after Hannah in the Birmingham Social Services Office named “The Hannah Shearer Suite”.
Hannah was always very active in the Jewish Care Home in Birmingham, volunteering and helping with the management side of things.
Hannah is the sister of the late Mrs Edith Rothchild, the founding head teacher at the Beis Yaakov School in Golders Green. She would often say to her sister “I have the looks; you have the books”.
Hannah’s advice for the younger generation: “Always mix with the older generation and accept them”.
Written by Sara Benbassat