Unfortunately, Harold died at age 63 after a biopsy. It was a great surprise.
I knew that Harold had roots in both England and South Africa so when I came across a story about a WW2 hero named Jack Nissenthall who was born in England and moved to South Africa I wondered if he was related to Harold.
Neil Richler, our membership chairman, confirmed my hunch. He told me that Harold had told him many stories about Jack's wartime exploits because Jack was his brother.
I've included a bit of Jack's story below. (edited from the article)
Jack Maurice Nissenthall was a Jewish Cockney born in London’s East End in 1919. A childhood interest in radio and electronics led to a career in the field. In 1936, he became a part-time apprentice for the RAF working with the father of radar Robert Watson-Watts.
When war broke out he was assigned to a variety of secret radar posts in England.
In early 1941, British intelligence learned that the Germans had erected a high-powered Freya radar station on a cliff just west of Dieppe.
This posed a significant threat to the Allied air campaign. An attack on the Freya site at Dieppe with the goal of seizing as much equipment and documents as possible was incorporated into the operation.
Nissenthall volunteered to be the radar expert for the Freya mission. He was attached to Company A, South Sasketchawan Regiment, commanded by Capt. Murray Osten.
Because Nissenthall had top secret knowledge of Britain’s radar systems, the soldiers accompanying him had orders to kill him if capture was imminent or if Nissenthall could not be evacuated because of wounds. Nissenthall was also given a cyanide capsule.
Read the rest here
To my surprise, I also found a picture of Harold online. He's on the left of a group portrait of travellers visiting Poland.
I think this must be a mention of Harold as well in The Canadian Jewish Review of September 2, 1960.
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Nissenthal and daughter, Karen, 2465 St. Louis Street, spent a five-week holiday in Europe, where they toured Switzerland, Italy, France; and London, England, where a family reunion was held at the home of his brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. M. J. Bernard.
They were joined by their mother. Mrs. Anne Nissenthal, and Harold Nissenthal, of Pretoria, South Africa.
GILLMAN-RABINOVITCH The marriage of Miss Sandra Rabinovitch, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Rabinovitch, 5131 Barclay Avenue, to David Gillman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gillman, 3197 Appleton Avenue, was solemnized at Zichron Kedoshim Synagogue, on Sunday, December 20, at six o'clock, by Rabbi Jacob J. Zlotnick, assisted by Cantor Leib Raskin. .....
The ushers were: Marvin Rabinovitch. and Marvin Fineberg, cousins of the bride; Harold Nissenthal, Brian Greenstone, Leon Bier, and Sheldon Brandes, cousin of the bride. The wedding flowers were yellow, and gold-coloured carnations, and pom-poms.
I'll close with an interesting part of Jack's story, a conversation between a hero and an arrogant senior officer. (edited from the article).
During the interview process prior to the mission, Nissenthall was interviewed by the Senior Intelligence Officer at Combined Operations, a wing commander (lieutenant colonel). He was a patronizing and cold individual who had been a close associate of British Fascist leader Oswald Mosely.