Bulletin Board - New Memories

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Old Friends. Where are they now?

Photographs and names

New memories.

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Nicknames from Alan Louis
It does seem to be a forgotten way of naming people but during the period around the time of the "Evacuees" we had many characters with wonderful nicknames.  Here are some that I can remember:-


Sol Lester who was a diamond merchant was named "Carat" for obvious reasons.


Abe Goldberg was affectionately known as "Tiny" because of his size.


Lionel Fine was known as "The Shammas" I don't know why. He was one of the partners of Benny Deane the bookmaker.


Jack Hautman was "The Tanzer". He had been a good dancer.


"Spanish Cohen" was the father of Danny, Sid and Henry.


Charles Corry was known as "The Kid from Spain".


"Doggie Cohen" had a shop selling products for dogs. He was the father of Leo.


"Frummer Cohen" was a man who had a stall on the market with a Tallit draped over it and he sold a book that he had written about the Messiah.


Joe Lee was known as "Colossal Yossel", a rather large man and father of Zadia.


Lew Cohen, who ran the food kitchen in the social club, was known as "Uncle Lew".


Bernard Barnett was known as "Taffy". The family came from Wales.


Sam Annis was known as "The Merchant". He could supply anything that one might want.


Let's hope that somebody else can add to this list.Alan Louis



Old Friends. Where Are They Now?


If you remember me, you will think of me as Hilary Denning, sister to Ros and cousin of Val Nathan.  There have been many, many changes for me since the Leicester Maccabi days. For a start I am now happily retired in Lyme Regis, Dorset, a beautiful place of rolling green hills and magnificent Jurassic coastline. I have changed my name to Rifka Mayers (the latter being the surname of my second husband (yes I did it twice)!!!! and instead of the dark brunette of the 50’s, I am now one of the ‘golden girls’, deciding as a pensioner to become a blonde. It would be nice to hear from old friends who went to Maccabi in the 50’s, especially the friends who sneaked out of Maccabi along with me, to frequent the wonderful notorious Casa Coffee Bar - “Oh Happy Days”.
Best wishes to you all.

Rifka Mayers (Hilary Denning)




Both myself and my brother John are alive and well in South Africa, my sister Judy still resides in Leicester. John was a teacher, now retired and living north of Durban and he was in the senior Maccabi during the 50's. I am living in Cape Town since 1966, still working, and during the 50's was actively involved in the Maccabi. Incidentally, Geoff Goldstein, David Simons and myself were "employed" in the Choir under Mr. David. 
Alan Langford



I am Frances Taylor the daughter of Dr and Mrs I Dub.  I am married to Solicitor, Alan Taylor and have four children and 17 grandchildren.  I live in Golders Green, London. I am grateful to Alan Langford for having identified me in one of the photographs and if any of my old friends want to contact me they can email me on taylors1454@aol.com. My sister, Miriam, is married to London Solicitor Arnold Israel and also lives in Golders Green.  She has three children and one grandson. Frances Taylor



Roy Susman's contribution about Les and Vivien Greenbaum blew my mind. (What's left of it!)  Roy - do you recall our many enjoyable visits to the Leicester Jazz Club  (Was it Pete Wells and his Band?)   Les and Vivien I remember well - they were also in Newcastle as I recall, before coming to Leicester.  It was a vibrant, welcoming community.  I have happy memories of studying and working in Leicester, before coming back to Newcastle by the end of the 50s, where except for 15 years in South Africa, I've been a successful lay-about.  

Several of the contributors to Jewish Voices are very fondly remembered from my time there - Tony Green, Malcolm and Pearl Solloffe, Bernard Besbrode amongst others. 
Walter Knoblauch

Yesterday, I had a visit from an old friend of mine from the 1950s in Leicester, Leslie Greenbaum and his wife Vivien. Leslie was a dentist and worked for the practice that was eventually owned by the late Ivor Neiman before he moved to Cardiff and his own practice. I showed him the book Jewish Voices and he got very excited to read about so many of his friends from the old days.

Roy Susman


And Roy asks, ‘Have you ever thought of having a "where are they now" section on your website?’


(Thanks for the excellent idea, Roy, and as you can see it has already been put into action. So anybody out there who has left Leicester please let us know where you are now. Thanks. Rosalind Adam)


Even though we left Leicester in 1948 (see my article below) we are still in touch with Pat Lidiker, and two years ago sadly had to attend Stanley's stonesetting in Bournemouth, where we met up with Derek & Rosalie Shine (nee Cooklin), Ann Lyons, as she was, Stanley Aarons, and some others. Other names which come to mind are Ray Weisberg, Alan Krett, Keith Goldberg (Cheyette), Gerry and Stanly Moss, Gerry now in Israel and Stanly sadly no longer with us. I am including my email address so that old friends might be put back in touch. As one gets older, (75 now) these old friends and memories become even more precious. My email address is the.sorokins@virgin.net

Ivor Sorokin

I have recently been to Brussels to visit Leon Gordon and I gave him a copy of Jewish Voices. Leon is mentioned in the section on Junior Maccabi . He’s been living in Brussels for many years, but is now quite frail. However he was delighted with the book and we discussed many of the incidents mentioned and he certainly recalled many of the names.

Gunter Lowenstein (now Lawson)



This book has prompted many memories of my time growing up in Leicester. The book is a delightful journey down memory lane, as well as a pleasure to read.
I would very much like to get in touch with Geoff Goldstein. I had been in touch up until approximately12 months ago but he has since moved. If you do receive contact details I would appreciate them being forwarded to me.

Bernard Segal



My name prior to marrying was Cohen. My mother was a cousin to the Jacobs family.  The last I heard about Eileen Jacobs is that she was living in London, but I haven't heard anything since then. Rachael May was a Jacobs before she married Samuel May.

When I left school, I went to work for S Lecash and Sons (also originally from London), in Churchgate. I worked with two of the Yentis family girls, Trudy (Gertie) and Lynda (Edna) who were also from London.

Barney Cemmell and I dated a few times, but he was quite a few years older than me and I was more interested in the Americans at that time. The American Army Air Corps were based in Cottesmore, where my brother-in-law was based.  My friends, the Yentis Girls, and I used to go to the Base Dances. I got engaged to an American (82nd Airborne Division) and I went to the US in 1947. I changed my mind about marrying him (which was very naughty). I then went to live with my sister, in Ohio. 

Helen David (nee Cohen)



We’re sorry to report:


Sadly Norman Braham died on April 4th 2009, aged only 65. He was a diabetic for many years and several years ago he had major heart surgery.


Do you know of this lady?


I am trying to locate a family member know to us as Tilly. She was a nurse in 1920s and we believe her maiden name was Tilly Kaplan (or Caplan or Copeland). She married and lived in Leicester in the 1920s. I think her married name may have been Tilly Williams. Part of her family was from Jerusalem and Palestine as well as Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt. I would like to know if you have any ideas on how to find her records.
Thank you very kindly.

Michelle Sendler - Melbourne FL USA



Some names from Stephanie Besbrode.


I think I have identified some more of the pictures in the cheder shot. 27 is me. 23 Louise Morrick. 43 Sheila Rees, 19 Collette Lynford.

Photographs and Names

A Photograph from Pat Lidiker
I found this absolute gem of a photo of a JIA dinner held in the Communal Hall sometime in the late 1950s/ early 1960s. Members will recognise lots of the people on it though sadly many are no longer with us.


JLA Dinner


JLA Dinner in the late 50s - click to enlarge



Memories from Dr Fred Levy

In 1950/51 I worked as an assistant GP to a two-man practice in Leicester. Dr Myers and Dr Angus practiced from their homes near the City end of Groby Road and in the New Parks Estate respectively and from a joint surgery in High Cross Street. During my stay in Leicester I had Jewish ‘digs’ at 30 Westcotes Drive. The occupants were a middle-aged lady with a London accent whose name I don’t remember, her aged mother, and her son, a young man about my own age (25/26). He was a laid-back man with a drawling accent. She had a daughter, a GI bride living in the US, who came on a home visit about 15 years ago and got a write-up in the JC. I have a clear recall of Mr Karpeles lodging there, an older man with a strong mittel-European accent. He was a keen walker and nature lover and taught me about poisonous fungi. Mr Karpeles was mentioned by Mrs Pauline Balkin on page 20 of the book.
I would like to find out more about them, especially the son who may well be still alive. Dr Fred Levy



Memories from Russell Bott
So many wonderful memories have been stirred up by the book. I have early memories of the Jacobs family who lived in Lincoln Street in pre-war times and many happy memories of going to Maccabi – even though I am not Jewish. I can remember Mrs Chato cooking fish on a Friday and I was often invited to join them for their Friday evening meal.
I am hoping very soon to be meeting up with my old friends Alan Louis and John Waterman, whose father was in charge of the cigarette kiosk on the corner of High Street. We have been trying to remember the name of the man who ran the Wyvern Pen Company in Leicester in the 1940s. One of the directors sadly died in the office. Can anyone remember his name?
In the early 1950s there was a board outside the Synagogue with the heading Jewish Ethical Teaching. There was a proverb on the board that has never left my mind. Apologies if the words aren’t quite remembered in the correct order but it went something like, ‘If G-d smiles on you and makes you wealthier than your fellow men, look not down upon them for in the end we all lie together.’    Russell Bott


The Jewish Voices Project is still going strong  


The Leicester Chronicle has done us proud. We have a two-page spread in the October 2009 issue. I was interviewed by one of their reporters who has produced an interesting write-up and has used extracts from the book and photographs by way of illustration. If you would like a copy of the newspaper please phone 0116 2512512 and ask for subscriptions. This doesn’t mean you have to subscribe. It’s the department who deal with back copies.
There is still a lot of interest in the Leicester Jewish Voices book and project. Both Val Moore and myself are getting regular requests for copies of the book and we are also being asked for help and support from other groups who are interested in running similar projects. If anyone reading this would like to talk about running a similar project or organising a memory writing group then click on Contact Us (top right corner of this page) and we’ll be happy to help where possible.
Rosalind Adam



Another photograph and names from Pat Lidiker.


I've found this photograph. The quality is pretty poor but I think it was taken in the garden of the old Social Club.


Cheder Outing


The people on it are, left to right, back row -  Bob Cramer, Bernard Besbrode, David Hyman, Peter Benedict, Arnold Kosky, Stanley Lidiker and Colin Frazer. Front row,  David Simons, Elizabeth Schner, Fenja Blank, Rachel Blank.


In about 1948 I played the part of Haman’s youngest son at the Social Club Purim production, directed by Bob Crammer. In my role I was to sit on the edge of the stage and my one line, in response to the obvious question, was “Making a dagger”. My father made me a wooden dagger which, in character, I whittled with a penknife. At rehearsal Bob Crammer decided the penknife was dangerous so substituted a pencil. At dress rehearsal Rev Rapaport decided that the dagger looked like a cross so substituted a pencil. The critics praised my powers of improvisation.

Not many years later I played the eponymous hero in the Cheder production of ‘Little Boy Samuel’ (or words to that effect). The supporting role of God was played appropriately by Rev Susman. The dialogue should have been the voice of God calling “Samuel” at which I replied, “I am here Lord”.  However, at dress rehearsal God improvised when He boomed out, “Samuel, stop picking your nose you dirty little pig!”


My barmitzvah was to be Bereshit, and with Rev Susman’s tuition I was being primed to do the whole Sedrah. The day after the Coronation I was admitted to the General Hospital for a stay which lasted 4 months. Day after day Rev Susman would cycle up the hill ‘religiously(?)’ as tuition continued behind hospital screens (patients assumed this was the last rites). It became apparent that I wouldn’t get out of hospital in time so plan B was to do the whole Sedrah of Noach. I was out with a week to spare to be given the news that it was Shabbat Chodesh and consequently a different haftorah. With a leg encased in plaster of Paris I did my stuff with not a dry eye (except for my sister’s) in the house. I didn’t realise at the time what a terrifically committed teacher Rev Susman must have been for me to have achieved that goal.

David Simons



It was when I was visiting a relative that I was first shown a copy of the Leicester Jewish Voices book. The relative was June Simmonds, whose parents, Harry and Sadie Sorokin were in Leicester in the 40s. My family were there too. Sam and Sadie Money (featured in the book) were my uncle and aunt. We went to Leicester in 1944 from London to escape the V2s. I was 10 and my sister Gloria, 8. Two months after that, our house in West Ham had a direct hit, and we lost a grandmother, aunt and uncle. I was at Wyggeston Grammar School from 45 to 48, when we moved to Brighton. My parents for a short while had a kosher hotel at The Rowans in London Road, in partnership with Dave and Florrie Rosenthal.

The only couple of times I have been back to Leicester were in 1964, when I won the British Tenpin Bowling Championship, and in 2002, when I had an Aliyah in Shul on the 55th anniversary of my Barmitzvah.

Ivor Sorokin



I grew up in Leicester in the 40s and 50s and apart from the experience of the cheder those days were as happy for me as for so many other contributors. But my experience was different from the typical Anglo Jewish one. My mother and I were refugees from Germany and ended up in Leicester as a result of the lottery that was evacuation. We started in Enderby and then moved to furnished rooms in Gotham Street, just a few yards from the synagogue. Mum worked as a machinist in the garment trade, starting with the Zeids in St Peter’s Road. Her social contacts were limited to similar refugees and non-Jewish friends from work. I do not recall a single visit to an Anglo Jewish home in those years. Not being religious she could not socialize with orthodox refugees, as they would not eat in our home. The German Jewish non-orthodox refugees, who were mainly widows from cultured, middle class backgrounds, were isolated and kept to themselves. They attended synagogue on High Holy days but in those years that was the limit of their involvement. But for my generation, Maccabi offered the opportunity to mix with Jewish youngsters of all backgrounds.       


The cheder was under the direction of Rabbi Rapaport with an inquisition type atmosphere. Teaching was non-existent. I found it so unbearable that I played truant for several years. No one ever reported my absence to my mother, and she never found out till I confessed many years later. As my barmitzvah approached I knew I had to go back, so I plucked up courage and presented myself. “Where have you been” demanded the Rabbi. “London”, I said, as I had been there for a short visit a few weeks earlier. He knew the truth but let me in. My mother knew I was in need of tuition for my bar mitzvah so took me to Dr Heineman. He could not believe that a grammar school boy could be so ignorant. He found the shortest portion he could for me to read, two short sentences. I managed to get through it and was presented with a slim volume of “The Jewish Way of Life”. The inscription read to “Gungler Lowenstein on the occasion of his Barmitzvah October 2nd 1948”. It became my nickname within the family.

Gunter Lowenstein (now Lawson)




Some names from Alan Langford.

On page 71 the Maccabi members are L-R. Steven Sofer, Barry Besbrode , Stephanie Morrison, Norman Braham and Carol Krammer, all Maccabi members of the late 1950's and early 60's.

On page 67(bottom), is a picture taken inside the Maccabi Club House L-R, sitting, Steve Zucker, Norman Braham , Stephanie Morrison, Helen Paul, Francis Dub and Unknown). Standing at the rear are, L-R, Mike Jacobs, Alan Langford  (Myself), Neville Feldstein,and another Unknown. Can someone identify the Unknowns?




Round table meeting for the jewish voices project

A round table meeting to discuss content for the Leicester Jewish Voices Project.








quoteCongratulations to all concerned on a very fine and professional result. It was a great pleasure to read and brought back so many memories.end-quote  Stephen Simmons


quoteI came across names I had not thought about for 50 years or so. What an inspired idea to have composed and compiled this book.end-quote

Wallace Jacobs


quoteIt’s strange how the mind plays tricks, hiding a memory if it is only a small part of the mainstream of one’s life.end-quoteAlan Langford



quoteWhat an absolute delight! I have read it cover to cover, word for word and I think it is fabulous.end-quote  Stephanie Besbrode