EAST END OF LONDON PHOTO GALLERY & COMMENTARY
London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......
My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London
e.mail thoughts & memories to:
Letters and more....double click photos to enlarge...and
more recent letters and enquiries here
Lipman's shoe shop, 19 Princelet Street (Princelet Street Synagogue)
Transported to Van Diemen's land!
Levy Brothers, Matzo bakers of Widegate Street - London's oldest shop
Jewish East End family history
Chicken soup with...matzo balls
Caves dairy in Jubilee Street
Boxer Joe Conn
The Shabberman family
Stepney Jewish School and the East London Synagogue
An adopted grandma brings comfort in the Blitz
Caves dairy, Jubilee Street - a correspondent writes
Jubilee Street memories - Caves dairy and more...
Hessel Street remembered
Vine Court synagogue remembered
Growing up in Stepney
Harry Leon remembered: Kiss me goodnight sergeant major!
Adolph Cohen's the wigmakers
Mohels and amulets at the London Hospital, Whitechapel in 1938, from Dr Harold Fenton
- Bud Flanagan and a bottle of sherry!
Haunting memories from 1930 schooldays in the USA. From Paul M
Reunion and reconciliation. From Ruth E
- Cows and Cholant in Jubilee Street. From Jack W
- Jewish bookshops, Tunnels to the to the Thames and the Israeli War of Independance. From Dr Harold F
- Alf Ross's (Rosenberg's) barbers shop in Berner St. From Harold in Israel
- Letter from Cochin - the Jews of India. From Paul M
- Memories of South London Jewish School, Heygate St, London SE17. From Mannie S
- Memories of Jews temporary shelter, Mansell Street
- Stepney Jewish Girls Club, Beaumont Grove
Lipman's shoe shop, 19 Princelet Street - from
87 year old (January 2008) Anne Sloman
So now you know
- Until recently the building was a shoe shop and family home with a
Federation synagogue built over what would have been the back
remember 19 Princelet Street well, but not
entirely as a shool. It was the home and business of the Lipman
Family. The shop front held Mr. Lipman's shoe repair business, the
back of the building the family living rooms. Upstairs, I assume
were the family sleeping
I was dating the son
Harry around 1940, and remember we were sitting in the
kitchen / living room
which joined the shop front. A number of people were walking through
the back yard, I asked where they were going was told they were
going to Shabbat evening services."
Post script: In May 2009 I received the
following letter re: the Lipman family:
was reading this page on your website and was very interested to
find an article from lady called Ann Solomon who remembers 19
Princelet Street as the business and home of the Lipman family, and
that she was dating the son called Harry in 1940. Harry Lipman
(photo left) is my father and he is now 91, but sadly not with a
great memory any more, but still able to hold a conversation. When
doing a bit of research to this I found out on his marriage
certificate that he lived at number 33 Princelet Street. I thought
this may be of some interest to you, I also have enclosed a photo of
him taken outside number 19 a couple of years ago.
Jan Jordan (nee
to Van Diemen's Land for stealing a doeskin!
quite by accident on your webpage. I would have loved to attend your walk.
Unfortunately I am in Hobart, Tasmania Australia !! My Great Great Grandfather
Joshua Simmons was born in Spitalfields in 1817, was a general dealer until he
was convicted of stealing doeskin. He was tried at the Old Bailey and sentenced
to transportation (Convict) arriving in Hobart in 1853. His wife (Catherine
nee Lewis) and children joined him in 1855. Joshua went on to be quite
prosperous, owning several hotels in Hobart. I have traced most of the Simmons
ancestry, with them marrying into practically all the families in the area.
Joshua's father was Aaron Simmons B 1780, who was a wealthy businessman in
Whitechapel, owning amongst other businesses the Black Lion Inn (at the time 99
Middlesex St), a bakery at 64 St Giles High Street and a hatters shop at 97
Middlesex Street. He was a privileged member of the Great Synagogue. When he
died in 1834 he had set aside over two hundred pounds for his infant children,
one of which was my GG Grandfather. I hope your walk is well patronised, I wish
This is the walk referred to in Kate's letter:
Sunday 18th July 2010
Walk: Jewish Women of the East End
Philip Walker (www.jewisheastend.com)
introduces you to Liberal Jews, less Liberal Jews, Zionists,
Philanthropists, Socialists, the Great and the Good, the Downtrodden and the
poor. Meet them all as we discover Jewish women of the East End...and maybe
a few of their menfolk...then join me afterwards for a curry in one of my
favourite Brick Lane restaurants
(cost not included!). Meet 10.30am Aldgate Tube. £9 (£7 Jeecs members)
London's oldest shop - Levy Brothers, Matzo bakers of
Widegate Street, Spitalfields...see
came across your website whilst searching the net for my family connections and
I discovered the page about Levy's the Matzo bakers, London's oldest shop (photo
(The boring bit now follows!) My great, great, great grandfather was Joseph Levy
b 1799. He is the first of whom I have any record. (Do you know more?) His son
Israel was born in 1827, one of their daughters, Rosetta Levy married Isaac Hyam
Joel. These are my great grandparents. Issac Hyam Joel's father comes from the
other very interesting side of my family.
He was Coleman Joel and his sister-in-law was Catherine Isaacs who's brothers
were none other than Barney and Harry Barnato. Their nephews were Jack , Woolf ,
and Solomon Joel. They were all fabulously rich.
Barney was probably one of the world's richest men and Solly his nephew no doubt
was eating the Levy brother's matzos that they shipped to the Cape in 1901! By,
the way my Grandmother never saw a penny of the Joel's fortune.
I have researched my family tree and decided to write up all the notes I found
into a little book. The book is NOT for publication as it contains a lot of
personal family details that neither the family nor I wish to become public.
I would love to include your piece about London's oldest shop with the photos
and I would therefore ask your permission to copy it into the book with the
appropriate acknowledgment (and link).
I now live in France and I hope to be back in London in April and will
definitely be visitin Widegate Street if only to have a beer in the pub next
I look forward to hearing from you,
Jewish East End family history Jan 2010
My family originated in Poland, and then
lived in the East End from about the late 1800s to just before WW1. I am into my
family history and am sending a bit about the Harrises in Princelet Street in
case it is of any use for your web site. They used to live opposite the 'shul'.
Your web site is fantastic!
David Harris, Canada (but I'm a Brit,
Louis (Lewis) Harris,
was born in about 1840 in
Poland/Russia (according to the 1871 census, where he was shown as a master
tailor) and in 1881 was living with his wife Minnie (Mena) previously
Weingart (whom he had married in the Great Synagogue, Dukes Place in 1869*)
and son Israel (age 11, born 10 Osbourn Place, Whitechapel in 1870) at 10
Princes Street (now Princelet Street). Mena had also been born in
Poland/Russia in about 1846.
3 other families were living
in the same house: a cigar maker, a commercial traveller, a furrier.
1893 Kelly's Post Office London
Directory shows Lewis Harris, 9 Princes Street,
Spitalfields (in this year the street was renamed as Princelet St.)
From the katubah:
The katubah names Louis as "Yehudah,
who is called Leib, son of Yisroel Tzvi who is called Hirsch" and Mena as "Mindal
daughter of Reuben". It is entirely in Aramaic hebrew and dated 20th day of
Adar 5629 (3 March 1869).
The groom at least has signed
the bottom of the katubah in hebrew script
Leib = Lewis, Tzvi and Hirsch
= Harris, Yisroel Tzvi = Israel Harris
The name Tzvi (or Zevi) means
a stag in Hebrew, which in German is Hirsch, in English is Hart, but was
often changed into Harris.
certificate: Louis Harris
Fourth October 1896, 9
Louis Harris, age 47 years, a
Informant Geo. I. Harris,
son, present at death, 9 Princelet Street, Spitalfields
registered 5 October
1896 (note: George Isidore
From newspaper cutting
HARRIS - On the 4th of
October, at 9 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, LEWIS HARRIS, the beloved
husband of Mina and father of Isidore (George) Harris. May his dear
soul rest in peace. American and African papers please copy.
From East Ham Jewish
buried in West Ham cemetery, 5
From gravestone, West
Ham Jewish cemetery, grave B-10-13
and photographed in 1980 and 1987 by David Harris (gt grandson)
The gravestone of Louis
is impressively large with an iron railing around the grave itself.
Information on the gravestone states in Hebrew "here lies Yehudah the son
of Israel Tzvi who died Sunday 27th of Tishrei 1896" and in English "in
loving memory of Louis Harris who departed this life 4th October 1896, 5657,
aged 54 years; The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the
name of the Lord; deeply lamented by his sorrowing wife, son, relatives &
friends. May his soul rest in peace" Below is inscribed "Loyal United
Friends Friendly Society, Princes Street" as well as an inscription in
1897 Trade Directory: Lewis Harris,
tailor, 9 Princelet Street
HARRIS - On the 9th of
December, at the residence of her son, 118 Victoria Park Road, Mena widow of
Louis Harris, late of 9 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, in her 67th year.
Deeply mourned by her son, daughter-in-law, relatives and friends.
David Harris 2010
soup with...Matzo balls
My mother's sister, Ethel Cragg, married my
uncle Jack (John) Godfrey in the 1940's in
London. We are a Church of England family, and
Uncle Jack was Jewish, although he did not
practice his religion. I was a country child
from rural Lincolnshire with family roots in the
village of Rippingale and the town of
Grantham. The most exciting and wonderful times
for me as a child was when I took the train to
London with my parents. On Sundays Uncle Jack
would take me down to Petticoat Lane. While he
was visiting with his friends in the market, I
was able to take in the sights, sounds and
smells of a life that was foreign and exotic to
me. I returned home extremely well fed on all
the food, especially my favorites - the pickled
herring and matzo ball chicken soup. They are
wonderful memories. Uncle Jack was an
accomplished pianist and a tailor by trade.
During World War II he made warm winter coats
for the children in the family by cutting down
old coats worn out by the adults and making
patterns for the kids.
I know that Uncle Jack's father's name was Jacob
Gottfried who lived in Whitechapel, and that
Uncle Jack had a wife before he married my aunt.
Can you advise how I can research the
Gottfried/Godfrey family with so very little
information to go on?
Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
and I will forward
dairy, Jubilee Street
I have come across your website. What a joy, to
read recollections of people who remember the
dairy in Jubilee Street, which was run by my
ancestors - Cave's Dairy. I visited Jubilee
Street for the first time yesterday and there
are very few old original buildings left. I am
really hoping that someone may have some
photographs of the street, as it was. I am also
very interested to know about the Jewish
community that used the dairy, would it have
been common practice for Jewish people to use a
dairy run by gentiles?
If there is any way possible I would love this
email to be passed to the people who left their
recollections on the website.
and I will forward
I found your website by
chance and thought it was so interesting. I am actually
trying to find out more about my Great Uncle Joseph
Cohen. He became a professional boxer and was known by
the name of Jo or Joe Conn or Cohn or Con….I'm afraid
I'm not sure of the spelling. He was a young man during
the 1920's - 40's when he was boxing professionally. I
think he helped out at some of the boys boxing clubs in
the East End. He lived around Bow. If you or anyone
knows where I can get any more info about him, I'd be
and I will forward
My name is Debbie Hunt
and I have been tracing my Jewish family History.I have
found that I am related to the Shaberman family who came
over to England from Russia in about 1890 they had seven
children one of them being my Grandmother Rebecca
Shaberman who married my Grandfather Harry Barnett.They
lived in Charlotte de Rothchilds Buildings and then
after her marriage lived in Wentworth Buildings.I think
my Grandfather may have been connected to M.Barnett and
Sons the salmon curers of Frying Pan Ally and when he
retired the business was taken over by his son Morris
Barnett and his cousin Lewis.
If anyone has any
information on either the Barnetts or the Shabermans it
would be great fully received.
Jewish School and the East London Synagogue
I have just read Dr. Zeffertt’s
article on the Jewish Scene until 1940.
Although I was not born until 1954, it brought back many happy
memories. My mother, Jane Perlmutter and my aunt Hannah
Perlmutter, were at school there during the 1930’s. My mum
always maintained that Kate Rose hated her. My mother’s home
was 61 Stepney Green, only yards from the school and in fact the
far end of her garden had a party wall with the infant’s
playground. I am not sure if there was an infant’s playground
during the period Dr. Zeffertt mentions.
parents, Jane and Terry Maxwell were married by
Rev. Zeffertt in 1954 at the East London Synagogue and in my own
living memory, recall her talking about Lou Staal and Mr
Gluckstein (who I think lived further up the green) My mother
often told me of how there were often policemen on horseback to
control the crowds yomtov time at the, “cathedral synagogue of
the East End”.
School - I do remember Mr. Pond, the caretaker, as he was still
there when I started school in 1959/60. The headmaster then was
Stanley Roslyn (?), known to us as Rozzo. He always called me
Maxine and forgot my name is Natalie.
mother sang in the Choir at the synagogue as did I (often to the
accompaniment of an organ at Sunday weddings).
Frohlich was our GP and bought me a little mezuzah to hang
around my neck when he visited Israel in the 1960’s. My
grandmother often shopped at the Briskis and I remember their
son Martin getting married. Amiel’s was our local sweetshop and
I knew the proprietor as “Uncle Ruby”. The other grocer shop,
opposite Amiels was Barraffs.
Natalie Bogod (nee Maxwell)
adopted grandma brings comfort in the Blitz
read your pages on the East End and the Jewish Community with so
much interest. My mum was a dressmaker in almost every well known
workshop in the 1930s in the East End. The workshops were like
family, she told me (sadly she has passed now). They used to play
loud music of the machinists’ choice as everyone worked away. During
the war, they were more united than ever.
mum qualified as a dressmaker at the age of 15 ½, having been a
“learner” in an East End Jewish workshop. When war was declared she
was very young, perhaps 16 or 17; she was a dressmaker; and life was
precarious. Her boss and friend, Alf, used to know that she was
terrified when the bombing came. He was only about 21 himself and
when the warning went off he would send her upstairs where his
family lived. There she would cuddle his grandmother and they would
go down to the shelter in the garden together. The grandmother
would call my mum “Bubbala” and she would call her, I believe,
"babushka" The elderly lady would always cuddle my mum completely
composedly and stroke her brow, and tell her that life would get
When my mum returned from work my grandfather would ask: "How was
you today, child? It was really bad wasn’t it?” “Oh yes, dad,” she
used to say, remembering her cuddles, the stories her adopted
grandma had told her, the cuddles again and the humour, and feel
guilty. On one occasion “Grandma” said that her son Jossel was
spoilt, and quite laid back and lazy. The next working day, my mum
told her equally young and spirited peers in the workshop. Instead
of going straight to their sewing machines, they flew up the stairs
and bounced on the young man’s bed screaming: “Jossel! Wake up.
Jossel!” The young man, horrified, tried to regain his composure.
“Nanny says you are a lazy so and so! Get up!” Up he got, horrified,
with “Grandma” laughing on the landing.
During the 60s and
70s when I grew up, if somebody sang My Yiddishe Momme
(usually my aunt Flo, who had a magnificent voice) in the pub,
it would reduce my mum to tears. My mum always remembered “the
dear little lady, so old and so grey”, and that is the story of
her adopted grandma. Her own mother had died when she was 12, so
perhaps that was why she wanted
"grandma’s” comfort so much.
dairy, Jubilee Street - a correspondent writes
.....As far as getting milk was
concerned, well we lived next door to Caves the Dairy. They had a
small herd of cows at the back and we took our jugs to the front
counter which opened on to the street. At Pesach time, they had a
Rabbi at the back who did the necessary supervision and we had to go
to the back of the yard which was in Charles street and get the milk
which was kept separate from that which was sold at the front. Every
now and again, they took the cows for some excercise up Jubilee
Street. They also kept chickens at the back. so fresh eggs were
always available. We were woken up by a combination of cock crowing,
and cows mooing. What memories Philip Lachman has inspired
Street memories - Caves dairy and more...
told a friend in Brisbane, Australia about Cave's Dairy (in Jubilee
Street), and she forwarded me your site. I was born in Rutland
Street which later changed its name to Ashfield Street. We
were two houses from the corner of Jubilee Street and I remember it
right corner there was a greengrocer's called Isaacs. On
the opposite corner was a grocery shop called Davis. Next to Isaacs
were, if I
remember rightly a few houses and then a sweetshop Shineholz - Mrs
Shinholz was a very good friend to my mother.
was a shop next to this which refilled accumulators for Wireless
sets. These accumulators had to be recharged or refilled, and I
well remember as maybe an eight or nine year old carrying these two
acid filled accumulators home. How my parents let me carry them I
will never know! Had I dropped one, I would most probably have been
splashed with acid.
Davis's was a house which had a cobbler working in the 'front'
room. There may have been another few houses, but I remember Mrs
Horowitz, another sweetshop. She used to have her hair swept up and
a black velvet ribbon round her neck. I think there was a barber's
shop behind the sweetshop. Before this there was Miller's which
was a shop selling all dairy foods. I remember finding on the
internet a picture of one of the milk carts with Miller's Dairy on
the side. This was in a hotel in (I think Los Vegas) and was filled
with flowers. How it had made its way there I will never know. At
the corner of Oxford Street, afterwards called Stepney Way was a
baker. I used to have to collect the cholent from there on a
Saturday. On Thursday my mother used to prepare an enormous tin of
'kichels', biscuits or cookies depending which side of the Atlantic
one lives. These were taken to the baker to be cooked as our gas
oven was too small.
along Jubilee Street was Jubilee Street shul. I remember on Simchat
Torah parading around it with all the other children with a flag
with an apple on the top and a lighted candle stuck in the apple.
whole shul could have caught fire, but nobody even thought of these
opposite side of Jubilee street was Dempsey Street School. It had a
mixed infants department, and the senior part of the school
specialised in children who had eye problems. Next door to the
school was a house and in the window with his back to it sat a
scribe. He had no artificial light, and sat there hunched over his
work every daylight hour. On the other side of the school there
was a block of flats and then houses and a few shops - one of which
was a shoe shop, and then came Cave's Dairy. My mother used to take
myself and my sister there every day after school and buy us a glass
of milk and a penny sponge cake.
write much more, but think this is enough. My family name was
Epstein and my name was Shayndel.
wonder if anyone remembers my grandparents Kayla and Michael
Pelovski. He was a Rabbi (I believe) a melamud (teacher) and a
herbalist. He was also an entrepeneur. Apparently he had a small
shul in the house in Rutland Street, also a cheder, but for the High
Holydays he used to rent the Pavilion Theatre and hold services
there, and people bought seats.
I hope this reminiscence pleases someone and brings more memories
Hessel Street Market - My
dearest Hessel Street
65 years ago my mother used to take me to Hessel st market, as
my grand mother had a shop there. She sold I think ingredients
for baking, and different kinds of little cakes and biscuits. I
look back and I remember the other shops, some were wet fish
stalls, and the fishmongers used to shout out what was for sale
that day, and the prices, and the boxes of fowls waiting to be
sold, and the noise they made, also, the little general shops
with tin kettles and pans hanging up outside on vertical lines
made of string, it was another world, when I tell my grandson
about these things I am not sure if he believes me, and I wish I
could take him back for a short while to show him what the east
end was really like, the wonderful atomosphere and the
characters that were about at that time. It seems so
unreal now. I don't know if you will get to read this Phil
as you must be bombarded with other memories from people, which
are so interesting to read.
All the best.
Vine Court remembered
was very interested to see the photos of Vine Court (a tiny turning
off Whitechapel Road) on the
grandfather and father owned C. Mead and Sons, the coffee roasters,
at no 5 (now with the red Bittu sign on the front) and I used to
work there in school and university holidays and do deliveries
during the regular van driver's holidays. On Saturday mornings, it
was common for someone from the synagogue to come in to the factory
looking for a gentile to turn the lights on of off – something that
seemed very strange to me as a young boy. I never went right inside,
so it was nice to see the photos.
“flophouse” visible behind was generally referred to as the Rowton
House, and during the summer when their windows were open the
inhabitants used to complain vociferously about the clouds of
coffee-smelling smoke that used to blow across when a roast was
coming to the critical stage – especially if it was a high
“continental” roast. It seems hard to believe now that coffee was
still being brought up from the docks by horse-drawn carts well into
the 1960s. The drivers had to back up the Court, which was difficult
for the horses on the cobbles, particularly if wet or icy. The carts
used to carry several tons, with only a beautiful single massive
I also remember
clearly the ironmongers on the corner of Vine Court, which I
think was called Chasits. The shop was so full of everything
under the sun that it was difficult to move, but the stock was
amazing and it was incredible what old Mrs. Chasit could find
(albeit not always with good humour!).
I have not been back there for 30 years or so, and have been
promising myself a nostalgic trip for ages.
lived in Stepney, in Cephas Avenue, originally St Peters Road,
adjacent to Charrington's brewery, from about 1926 until 1942. I now
live in Las Vegas. My wife and I were married in Hendon Synagogue
(very posh) in 1949 and migrated to the US in 1954. I am 86 years
Growing up, Whitechapel, Mile End Road and Stepney were my centres
of gravity. I attended Stepney Jewish School from about 1926 to
1936. I passed the London Jewish Hospital, the Orthodox ‘shul’
and on to school, four times a day – and twice on Sundays to Hebrew
(see photo left of front cover of Stepney Jewish School 1937 Purim
Play) was our leading Hebrew teacher. Although all the
teachers taught Hebrew, Lipshitz was more educated in Hebraic
teachings. When he was not conducting Hebrew studies he was the
Standard Two teacher. Miss Levine was my Standard One teacher, my
first teacher at the school. I remember lying on a cot after a glass
of warm milk for our afternoon nap.
so clearly remember the blacksmith near the United Synagogue, which
we attended intermittently with Redman Road Synagogue; the Majestic
cinema where we would run to get in before 3 o'clock so that it
would only cost 3d – ‘thruppence’. After 3.00 it was 4d. There
were the Tom Mix cowboy films and horror films with Lon Chaney.
The Troxy; the Mile End Empire, where I saw Larry Adler as well as
Borah Minevitch, the harmonica player, among so many other artists
of the time: they are vivid in my memories. There was the Pavilion,
the Jewish theatre in Whitechapel by Valance and New roads. I have a
very vague remembrance of seeing The Dibuck there at the age
of four. I fainted
And yes, I well remember October 4 1936, when Oswald Mosley tried to
march through the East End. I was 14 and my brother 19. At Gardner's
Corner, we were both in the melee. My brother was hit with a
truncheon wielded by a policeman on horseback. A pleasant memory?
Not really. Just a memory. But most other memories are pleasant and
filled with nostalgia. Somehow, I wish I could remember with greater
detail. Ah well!
Albert Glazerman, Las
me Goodnight Sergeant Major
Just picked up your web site on Jewish London and the area around Spitalfields
which I read with great interest.
I write a monthly article for a nostalgia magazine about veteran songwriters
of the 20s,30, 40s, and have recently researched a songwriter named Harry
Leon. He wrote a thousand songs but you are most likely to know one of his
most famous songs, Kiss Me Goodnight Sergeant
It may be of interest to you that Harry was born in Spitalfields in 1901, at
139 Lolesworth Buildings, Lolesworth Street. Sadly none of it exists any
longer, so he can't have a plaque! His real name was Aaron Sugarman, and his
father, Abraham, was a cigarette maker. Like Bud Flanagan, young Aaron went
to the Jew's Free School in Bell Lane. When he left there he went to work at a hat factory and then joined the Merchant Navy. He
began writing songs in 1930 when he left the sea, and his first success was
Sally, which Gracie Fields adopted as her signature
tune. He became rich, spent it all, went bankrupt, and died in 1968 in
virtual poverty. So endeth the lesson.
Probably no interest to you at all - but I thought I'd write to you anyway.
Best regards, Brian Willey
and....more on Harry Leon:
Harry was living in a transport cafe in Kentish Town in 1966. I
worked in the cafe and we chatted a lot and he told me his life story.
He was very down and out and everyone knew him. He played piano in
local pubs for drinks. He used to come down in the mornings when he
heard me start work and often he would say put my tea and toast 'on
the book', and I often let it go. He told me lots of things. He
said he gad written for Gracie Fields and he said that if he had all the
money that was owing to him he would be a rich man. He also talked of
his wife who had died. I left the cafe when my baby was due to be born
and I never heard any more of him, but I shall always remember him.
I'm glad he's not forgotten.
Regards, Mavis Steele
Cohen's the wigmakers, Whitechapel
here is a picture of the corner of Great Garden Street. You can see the groups
of Garment workers and "Guv'nors" standing about. Another piece of
trivia for you is the hairdressers next to the Gas Company. It had [for a
Jewish establishment in the 30's] the unfortunate name of Adolph Cohen. The
link with the present is that the famous Vidal Sassoon was apprenticed there.
It provided all the East End religious ladies, including my "Boobah" with
Jack White, Israel
and amulets at the London Hospital, Whitechapel, 1938.
Dr Harold Zvi
was born 2:30 a.m. Monday morning 14th March 1938 - 11th Adar 2, 5963-
and spent the next few days in the Marie Celeste ward of the London
Hospital, Whitechapel Road [with mother, of course!]. At the time, there
was a mohel, the Rev N Halter, who lived in 3 Mullen House, 87 Nelson
Street. He had the iniative of finding out which Jewish mothers gave birth
at the hospital and visited them to wish them well and at the same time
leave his visiting card.This "card" took the form of a special amulet, or
"kamaya", which according to Kabbalistic teaching, was aimed to ward off 'Lilit'
the evil female spirit who's aim is to harm newborn males as a revenge for
Adam's rejection of her for Eve (midrashic sources)! Apparently he was
welcomed by the Hospital authorities as a survivial expert for the
new-born. The amulet was placed around the walls of the bed where mother
and child were lying. Since the family on my mother's side were chassidic,
this was appreciated and accepted as the norm. Thus I was protected at
birth! I managed to keep 7 of these amulets, and have attached one of them
for you to see (picture on left - double click to enlarge). It is
at least an historical document! As it turned out, the "traditional mohel
of the family" was Dr Bernard Homer, who was an optician by profession**,
and so it was that my future was placed into his hands, although I was
well-protected for the first week of my existence by Rev Halters amulets-kamayot!
family are originally Belze and Gur-my "Sundak"-or "godfather" at my
circumcision was Rabbi Pinchas Weitzman,[an uncle by marriage],whose
son-in-law, Mr I.M. Cymerman, is, today, one of the leaders of the British
Aggudah and whose father was a great friend and neighbour of Rabbi
Szpetsman [I am sure the spelling is wrong] of the Nelson Street
Synagogue. He practised for many years in the East-End, and lived to
a ripe old age.Can anyone add their memories of him?
Flanagan (a.k.a. Reuben Weintrob!) of Hanbury Street and elsewhere - mis-adventures
with a bottle of sherry!
read your website with great interest as my late grandmother Kate Musaphia
(nee Martin) always told me she lived
next door to Reuben Weintrob. Her father was a Fish & Chip shop
owner. I believe the shop was called Johnny Martin's and was in the Mile End Road. Years
ago I used to meet Bud Flanagan at lunchtime in Isows restaurant, Brewer
Street, Soho and he remembered my
grandmother well from when they were kids. He told me that his parents
did so many midnight flits to avoid the rent man that they could put
blue plaques up at about 45 houses round the East End! I've many stories of
him & the Crazy Gang, but one of the best happened up North.
The Gang were staying at a boarding house & had a bottle of sherry in the
room. They suddenly noticed it was going down whilst they were out. So Bud
decided to top it up with Urine- Each Day it went down a little and each
day one of the gang topped it up. They used to laugh about it until on
the last day as they were leaving the Landlady said " I hope you don't
mind but I used your sherry each night to enhance your trifle.....!"
Keep up the
tradition - We must not forget our roots. Michael Davey
facts about Jews at age 13, 1938 in the USA - a classroom debate.
From Paul M, London
When I told
Paul I was putting his Jewish moment on the site he wrote me the following
Philip, this story has a special meaning for me. As a child I was
confused and proud at the same time that my grandfather, Paul M, had
fought for the German Kaiser in the World War and had received an Iron
Cross from the Nazi government in 1935, five years before he was hauled
off to Auschwitz.'
introduction to his story is below:
mother-in-law, Juliana S, was clearing out her house in Los
Angeles recently to get ready to move to London, when she found a
school report she had written as a child in the USA. It
is dated January 10, 1938 and tells the story of how a 13-year-old
girl in New York chose to find out the truth about what her
classmates said about Jews in a school debate. Her story - as
written in 1938 - is below:
few weeks ago, during Home Room Club period, we had a debate. The
topic was, “Should the quota be raised for German Jews in this
country?” This debate was continued in our English class.
Those favouring the negative said that it is the fault of the Jews
that they are being persecuted; according to these speakers most of
the Jews are “cowardly and money grabbers”. One boy, of German
parentage, asserted that German Jews did not fight for Germany
during the World War. “They,” he said, “stayed at home, and when the
poor German soldiers came back from war, they found their jobs taken
over by the Jews.” Another speaker said, “Hitler is
persecuting the Jews to get revenge for the sufferings they caused
the German people.” Those in favour of the affirmative denied,
as untrue, the above allegations, both as to the characteristics
assigned to “most Jews” and their non-participation in the War.
debate became very heated; however neither side was able to present
definite facts and figures in support of its statements. It
was finally suggested that two of the debaters write to The New York
Times, asking if they could give any information as to how many
German Jews fought in the German army during the World War (World
War One, 1914 - 1918)
The New York Times replied by a letter saying that they could not
supply the information, and advised trying the Main Branch of the
New York Public Library. Following this advice, my friend and
I went to the Library. To our dismay we found that students could
not use the Card Catalogue Room. We finally hit upon the idea of
going to the Jewish Reference Room. The librarian gave us a book in
which we have found the following information based upon the German
official statistical publications:
the half a million Jews living in German at the time of the War, one
hundred thousand served (not counting Austria “Eighty thousand
fought at the front. 10% (10,000) of those were volunteers. At
least twelve thousand Jews gave their lives for Der Vaterland.
About thirty-five thousand Jews were decorated for bravery.
Twenty three thousand were promoted to non-commissioned ranks and
over two thousand, not counting Medical Officers, were commissioned.
One hundred sixty-five Jewish fliers saw actual service at the
front. Thirty of these were killed.”
is known that at the beginning of World War half million Jews lived
in Germany. Of this number one hundred thousand, which is 20%of the
entire German Jewish population, served in the army. Thousands were
killed. This presents the best answer to the main argument of those
who during the debate supports the anti-Semitic point of view
obviously inspired by the German Nazi Government propaganda in this
country. (written January 1938)
and Reconciliation. From Ruth E, London
Shortly after my father’s Russian parents – Abraham and Rebecca
Schneider - came to England along with my father, two other brothers and
a sister called Mille, came the outbreak of the 1914 -1918 war. The Schneiders had a shop in Westminster, and into the shop one day came
this fine looking Australian soldier, bush hat and all. That was
“IT” for Mille, who fell for him. They eloped and went back to
Australia and her father sat Shiva for her and no one was allowed to
mention her again. Around 20 years ago (1985), into that same shop
in Westminster there came an Australian man. He said to my husband Brian
that he had come to
London to search for his maternal relations as his mother had recently
passed away and he had found when looking through her papers that she was
not only Russian by birth, but was Jewish - which was all news to him. He
said he had been to every site he could think of that could help him in his
search and all he knew from the paperwork was that his maternal
grandparents had a shop, somewhere in London, so he was looking for
anything that said Schneider and he had been told that Schneider
translated to Taylor, and the shop he then stood in was A. Taylor & Son –
Abraham Taylor (Schneider). My husband Brian listened in silence, walked to the
telephone whilst the man stared at him, dialled my number and said to the
man and to me, “Here, take the telephone and speak to your cousin”.
And so it was, and we have been in touch ever since and it is a lovely
relationship, albeit across thousands of miles and telephone wires. Roger, incidentally,
had married a Jewish girl and she had been put through all the angst of marrying
out, but she had not had she?
(A Taylor & Son
Tobacconists was located in Victoria Street, Westminster. The
business was sold in the mid 1990's)
and Shabbat Cholant in Jubilee Street in the 1930's.
From Jack in Israel
was taken to the bakery to be cooked. As the cholant had to be slow cooked
all night, we could not afford to keep the gas stove going for so many
hours. Most Jewish bakers did not bake on Friday nights, and it did not
pay them them to turn their ovens off and then have to re-light. So there
was a symbiotic arrangement. We took our cholant and they got an
additional income. Of course, our pots were taken in before Shabbat and
had a cloakroom ticket pasted on the brown paper which was tied down over
the lid (Fore-runner of the pressure cooker?). We paid a couple of pence
and collected our lunch on the way home from Shul, having put our ticket
and a tea-towel in our talit bag. In this way, we could carry our lunch
home without burning our hands.
As far as getting milk was concerned, well we
lived next door to Caves the Dairy. They had a small herd of cows
at the back and we took our jugs to the front counter which opened on to
the street. At Pesach time, they had a Rabbi at the back who did the
necessary supervision and we hd to go to the back of the yard which was in
Charles street and get the milk which was kept separate from that which
was sold at the front. Every now and again, they took the cows for some
exercise up Jubilee Street. They also kept chickens at the back. so
fresh eggs were always available. We were woken up by a combination of
cock crowing, and cows mooing....
Bookshops, tunnels to the Thames and the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.
From Harold in Israel,
A prominent and dear memory I have from the 1940's is
of Mr Cailingold's Jewish book store at the beginning of Old
Montague Street where my family had their butcher shop. He was the
main supplier of religious works, slightly bigger than Mazin's Book
Shop further towards Whitechapel Road. Mr. Cailingold's daughter,
Esther, was a heroine of Israel's War of Independence in 1948.
She was mortally wounded in the Old City of Jerusalem and is buried on
Mount Herzl, about 15 minutes walk away from my home. Her life story has
been published in English by her brother, Asher, and is called "An
Unlikely Heroine". She also mentioned in the book "O Jerusalem"
co-authored by Randolph Churchill....and reported as dying in the arms of
one of her Haganah defence force's comrades, "a red bearded giant of a
man"-who is today's Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi Sher Yashuv Cohen! (2005)
Tilbury Docks was the communal shelter during blitz
air-raids and we lived for a short while there. I recall the late King
George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's and the Duke and Duchess
of Kent's visits to the Tilbury shelter; I think they occurred in 1941 (I
was three years old then!) We all slept in double-tiered bunks under large
natural arches. There were very few partitions between us all. During the
Blitz, we used to make the long journey from Arbour Square to the shelter
by running the length of Commercial Road, It was shortly after this that
the East End branch of London County Council (later Tower Hamlets Borough
Council) erected corrugated iron shelters, that looked like
dog-kennels, half underground in every-one's back garden. For this they
dug deep holes. There are many stories coming back to me from that time.
When they dug the pit in our garden at no. 56 Arbour Square,
for installing the Anderson shelter (as those corrugated iron "kennels'
were called, a worker suddenly disappeared! They had dug a pit which
was above a roof of a large brown-tiled room and the roof had given away.
I remember peering down into the depths which were lit up by the
daylight which for the first time penetrated the mysterious gloom. The
workers heard the voice of their colleague and went down a ladder to him.
They were amazed to find a series of rooms and tunnels, all tiled,
leading from our area towards Shadwell Park and the River Thames where
there were docks and ware-houses! Our garden was sealed off and the whole
lot filled in. Various theories were offered about this underground series
of rooms and passage-ways but we were told "to forget about it".......This
is the first time I have put this into print for all to see and know- so
Philip-you are welcome to the "Scoop"! We heard, after some research
in later years, that the tunnels were built by smugglers and "pirates" who
used the river routes, docking facilities nearby etc. they could be used
for hiding those wanted by the law or as refuges for escaped
prisoners.....the Tower of London ain't far away..... the eerie thing is,
that they are still intact, clean as a whistle as far as we know and
waiting to be revealed!!!!
One thing I learned in the air raid shelters in Tilbury
Docks which I still use for my grandchildren's' amusement today (and
indeed for my own, too!) was how to make paper aeroplanes and darts
capable of long, high flight power and which could loop the loop! We kids
could not go out to play of course and this was the most popular
past-time. This was taught to us by elder boys including one fellow who
was a leader of the Habbonim youth group, which had their headquarters in
Mile End Rd. opposite the Guinness Brewery.
Alf's Hairdressing saloon in Berner's St (now Henriques st)
From Harold in Israel
There is lot
of information generally regarding the Oxford and St Georges club in your
wonderful East-End of London site. On the same side of the street (Berner's
St. wasn't it?) just before the club was a barber shop opened in the early
1950's. This was called "Alf's Hairdressing Saloon": The proprietor was
Alf Ross, an ex-RAF veteran. He was my aunt's husband, a very fine and
devoted man. My aunt, Lilly, was a Finklestein and my father's sister,and
lives in Hackney. Their children, my first cousins, are Martin and Ian.
When my Uncle Alf opened the shop, I was about 15 years old, and he,
knowing my love of art, asked me to paint his first sign in the window
which I did in glowing blue and red lettering on white cartridge paper:
this made me very proud! I still have a portion of that sign when he
replaced it with a permanent professional job! Our whole family from the
East End was evacuated early during the war to Market Harborough (but
therein lies another amazing saga!)
If any one
remembers Alf Ross (previously Rosenberg) and the shop, I would very much
like to know, as well as news of the family I mentioned above, Lilly,
Martin and Ian, since we lost contact with each other about 28 years
parents were killed when a V2 destroyed their home (in Hackney or Stoke
Newington, I do remember because I was about 4 years old then))
Fenton "nee' Finklestein
you wish to reply to Harold please mail me direct and I will forward your
letter - Philip
From Prosperity to Posterity – lessons from South
From Paul M in
houses on Synagogue Lane in Cochin, where India’s oldest synagogue
stands next to the Maharajah’s palace, one can still see the
Star of David in windows next to the Hindu holy Swastika signs of
a recent holiday to South India, I found this jarring juxtaposition
– the Hindu religious symbol as hijacked by Hitler – but one relic
of a remarkable story of Jews who settled in South India after the
burning of the Second Temple in 70CE and thrived under special
protection of the Hindu Rajas to the present.
Pardesi synagogue in synagogue Lane Cochin was built in 1568. Its chandeliers and two gold bimahs
look down upon a floor of blue and white porcelain tiles imported
from China in the 18th century. A series of paintings outside the
sanctuary traces the special history with great affection for their
their extraordinary status, the once vibrant community of thousands
is now down to 14 surviving Jews, including Sarah Cohen, who knits
kippot for her little shop in Jew Town. The community that once
numbered 2,500 seems sadly headed to posterity from prosperity.
many European countries where Jews were uprooted, forced into
ghettos, denied business or legal rights, from 379CE, special
protections for India’s Jews were enshrined by Maharajas on copper
plates, which guaranteed in perpetuity the Jews’ rights to practise
their own religion, maintain their own schools, provide commerce,
trade and legal advice to the royal families of Cochin.
1949, even as the last Maharajah Rama Varma, thanked Cochin's Jews
for their cooperation, most of the special community there had
already decided to emigrate to Israel. They rarely intermarried or
integrated into the Hindu society. Ironically, now, millions of
Indian Hindus have converted to Christianity as a means of
practicing fervent religion outside the Hindu cast system, but this
has not happened to the Jewish community of Cochin, now tiny and
Christian guide was both puzzled and saddened as she explained the
irony. “Jews were given everything by the Royal family, yet they
never really integrated into Indian society, and Indians rarely
married into Jewish families. So when Israel was founded after the
(Second World) War, they were enthusiastic about going to this great
new place, and they all left.”
of South London Jewish School, Heygate Street, London SE17. From Mannie S
Jewish School was at Heygate St.Walworth, London SE17 and almost next door to the old
Borough Synagogue which was later relocated in a new building nearby in Wansey St. I started school there soon after my third birthday in
1926 following in the footsteps of my mother and grandmother so you can
see that the school had a long tradition going back to the nineteenth
century. The Headmaster in my time was Mr Bernberg followed by Mr Taylor.
The teachers names I remember are Miss Kate, Miss Amelia and another
sister whose surnames were Aarons. Mr Klienman, Mr Cohen and Miss
Goldstein. The caretakers who lived at the school were Mr and Mrs Moore -
a lovely couple who used to make us tea and buttered toast lunchtime.
of Jews Temporary shelter in Mansell Street, London E. From Rita R,
across your website which I found fascinating. I was surprised not to find
any mention at all of the Jews' Temporary Shelter in Mansell Street (O.K.so
it's not a Shul, but...). My parents and I arrived in London on 26/2/1939
from Germany and were put up in the Shelter for a couple of weeks. It was
full of refugees like us, all depressed and despairing and it was not a
place of comfort! We were put up in dormitories, and this 12-year old just
wanted to go home. We were interned on the Isle of Man in 1940 until
1942 and guess where we were sent until we could find somewhere to live?
Yes, the Shelter.In retrospect - and some 66 years later - I have to say
thanks to whoever put us there in the first place. That's how we were
Club (Stepney Jewish Girls Club), Beaumont Grove, from
I came across your website with interest. A few points of my own:
Do you or anyone have recollection of the above, memories, photo's, info?
I would very much like to hear.
reference to the Beaumont Girls Club, which was near Stepney Green
Station. In fact it was a mixed youth club in the 60's which I attended
and have fond memories of, including performing in the Drama Club
version of Billy Liar 1963 and You Can't take it With You 1964
also an operatic group which performed Call Me Madam and The White Horse
Inn in the same period at the Poplar Civic Theatre
went on the club holidays in Folkestone in 1964 and 1965. Does anyone
have anyone else recall?
I went to
the Public Baths near Stepney Green Station in the early 60's
I also recall Paul For Music outside Whitechapel Station
double click photos
website copyright of Philip