(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
SYDNEY - Frank Lowy, a Holocaust survivor who fought in Israel’s War of Independence and went on to become a billionaire shopping magnate in Australia, was knighted in the United Kingdom as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors.
Lowy’s knighthood was announced Friday night. He is chairman of the Westfield Corp., a global shopping center company he co-founded in 1960, as well as a philanthropist.
A Slovakia native, Lowy settled in Australia in 1952 after evading the Nazis in Budapest and fighting in Israel’s 1948 war for independence.
“Frank Lowy is recommended for his contribution to the UK economy through the company he founded, Westfield, and its major investments in the UK,” his knighthood citation says.
Lowy said the genesis of his regard for the UK was listening to the BBC World Service as a young boy in war-torn Eastern Europe. He recalled that as a child he would huddle around a radio in a bunker, listening to the chimes of Big Ben in London introduce the latest war news.
“It always gave us hope that help was on the way, and that the war would end in our favor,” he said.
Anton Block, the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry congratulated Lowy on his recognition.
“This is a singular honor and one that befits the immense contribution Mr. Lowy has made as an innovator, a creator and a philanthropist,” Block said. “His achievements have transformed industries and economies and his support for scientific, cultural and humanitarian causes has enriched us all.”
Rabbi Levi Wolff of the Central Synagogue in Sydney said Lowy “has always had a wide philanthropic vision that spans oceans and diverse causes. It’s befitting and becoming that he is bestowed with this most deserving honor.”
Two other Jewish philanthropists — Len Blavatnik, a Jewish billionaire listed as Britain’s second-richest person, and British businessman Trevor Pears, who with his two brothers established the Pears Foundation — also received knighthoods for their efforts.
Blavatnik is the owner of Warner Music, and his conglomerate company, Access Industries, has interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, according to the Jewish Chronicle. The Blavatnik Family Foundation supports cultural and philanthropic institutions, and also funds a Colel Chabad-run food bank and warehouse in Kiryat Malachi in Israel, which sends monthly shipments of food to 5,000 poor families in 25 Israeli cities.
The Pears Foundation is an independent charitable body “rooted in Jewish values.”