Legion d’Honneur for John Waxman

June 17, 2015 by Natalie Shymko
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Sydney’s Montefiore Home resident John Waxman has been awarded France’s highest decoration of Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.


John Waxman

“This honour has been bestowed on John Waxman for his outstanding services during the Second World War, “said Montefiore CEO, Robert Orie.  “He is being recognised for the courage and sense of sacrifice he demonstrated as he took part in the liberation of France.”

“John was an ‘enemy alien’ and a serving commando soldier in the special forces.  As a German national he fled Nazi persecution to join the British in their fight against Hitler during the Second World War.  John’s service included being part of the invading force that glided into Normandy on D-Day and being involved in the battles of St Honorine and Caen.  We are so very proud of John who is well deserved of this prestigious award,” added Orie.

John Waxman is humble and honoured to receive his award and admits he had butterflies in his stomach leading up to the ceremony.  He says, “it is a great privilege to receive this decoration, it means a lot to me, my family and Montefiore Home.  Although coming ‘out of the blue’, this award has been a wonderful gift and invigorates life for me, after all I am 91 years old.”

John was joined today by his daughters, grand-daughters and grandson.

The National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

Technically, membership in the Légion d’Honneur is restricted to French nationals.  Foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may, however, receive a distinction of the Légion, which is nearly the same thing as membership in the Légion.


2 Responses to “Legion d’Honneur for John Waxman”
  1. Denise Waxman says:

    Mazeltov Dad! We are so very proud of you. I just want to mention the special troop that Dad was part of were young men from the Kindertransport and European Jewish boys, whose exceptional contribution included interrogating the German POW’s they had captured. It was this information that led to the Liberation of France, and the reason Dad had to flee England after the war – the Germans had been aware of his every move!

    • Kim Langford says:

      I just finished reading your Dad’s amazing story in Helen Fry’s book Churchill’s German Army. Very moving and inspiring!

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