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The 300,000 Jews who were in Britain in 1914 can be divided, approximately, into two sections. The larger portion were those, and their descendants, who had arrived from Russia, mainly after the 1870s; the smaller portion were the descendants of earlier immigrants, starting with the first arrivals after the re-admission of the Jews in the mid-seventeenth century. There was a further type of demarcation, between the smaller group of Sephardim, those who, whatever their immediate country of emigration to Britain, had originated in the Iberian peninsula, and the more numerous Ashkenazim, from northern and eastern Europe. The former included the 17th century incomers from, especially, Amsterdam, but also the Montefiores and Disraelis from Italy; later, in the 19th century, came the Sassoons, originally from Baghdad who had settled in India. The Ashkenazim included the Rothschilds from Frankfurt, and the Goldsmids originally from Hamburg but they came from Holland to England.
These were the grand families of Anglo-Jewry, of which the Ashkenazim especially married among themselves to form what has happily been called 'The Cousinhood', a group who more or less ran Anglo-Jewry, well into the 20th century. Nevertheless, the descendants of these earlier immigrants included large numbers of poorer, working-class people, engaged in such pursuits as cigar-making and the needle trades, the girls often in domestic service.
In any case, rich or poor, they were clearly distinguished from the eastern European immigrants from the 1870s onwards. They were generally poor, speaking Yiddish, more religious, and more prone to fissiparous arguments, mainly over religious matters, compared to the anglicised Jews who had adopted English mores. Thus the United Synagogue, the main Ashkenazi organisation in London, was comparable to the Church of England, the ministers being called 'Reverend' and they wore clerical collars.
But whatever their differences, Anglo-Jewry tended to be united in their dislike of Russia, for its horrific treatment of the Jews under their control, a major cause of the mass emigration in the three or four decades before the First World War, As well as pogroms, some government-inspired, there were many kinds of legal restrictions on Jews, so that it was not unexpected that the weekly Jewish Chronicle (henceforth JC) published a supplement entitled 'In Darkest Russia'.1 When Britain declared war in August 1914 the Anglo-Jewish community was faced with a dilemma for to find that wartime Britain was linked to Russia was a problem; it was resolved very quickly, the newspaper supplement was stopped and the newspaper produced a slogan which it emblazoned on its offices and it was used continuously: 'England has been all she could be to Jews, Jews will be all they can be to England'. Thus it printed regularly throughout the war news of Jews in the armed forces including lists of casualties. But it also printed adverse news, of Jewish men of Russian origin who were reluctant to join; it did not hesitate to notice Jews who appeared before tribunals as conscientious objectors.
After the war, in 1922, a large book was published to commemorate Jews who had served; it was The British Jewry Book of Honour (1922, reprinted 1997) (henceforth BJBH), edited by Michael Adler, the Senior Jewish Chaplain. It contained essays, lists of the dead, names of those who had received gallantry and other awards, lists of those who had served in the various units, including those in Imperial forces, and a large number of photographs, of men who had served, of those who had died, and of memorial plaques in synagogues and other Jewish buildings. It amounted to some 1,000 pages. Such lists were no more than a first approximation. The book was a heroic achievement in the absence of modern technical devices for obtaining and printing a large number of names and there were inevitably omissions, duplications, and other errors. 2
Before the war there had been a Jewish presence in the army and the Royal Navy, including the Territorial Army. Some were casualties in the first months of the war. The first officer to be killed, on 14 September 1914, was Lt Ronald Lucas Quixano Henriques, Queen's Royal Regiment. As the name suggests he came from a long-established Sephardi family and having been to Harrow, went to Sandhurst and joined his regiment in 1903. The family was wealthy, the father being an overseas merchant, living in Sussex Square, Paddington. At the 1891 Census, the family, with five children, had seven servants; in 1901, with three teenage children, there were nine servants. Midshipman Vivian George Edward S. Schreiber, HMS Monmouth, RN, died aged 15 on 1 November 1914. His cousin, 2Lt Bernard Russell Abinger (served as Russell), was killed on 25 September 1915. 3 The next army officer to be killed was an oddity: Baron Alexis George de Günzburg lived in Paris but he had English kin and had attended Eton. He was not a pre-war soldier, but at the beginning of the war he joined the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars and soon was attached as an interpreter to the Royal Horse Guards. 4 He was killed on 6 November 1914, and in the same month the first Jewish VC was won, posthumously, by an officer. This was Lt Frank Alexander de Pass of 34 Poona Horse, part of the Indian Expeditionary Force which arrived in France soon after the war began, and he was killed on 27 November 1914. He had been commissioned as 2Lt in 1906 and joined the Indian Army in 1909. Another regular army officer, who was also in the Indian Expeditionary Force, was Captain Cecil David Woodburn Bamberger, Royal Engineers, killed 19 December 1914. He had attended University College School, and had proceeded to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He went to India in 1906. 5
When war broke out Jews were among those who rushed to join and it was estimated that in the period of voluntary enlistment, before the passing of the Military Service Act in 1916, some 10,000 had joined including 1,140 officers. I take it that these figures - if more than mere guesses - were based loosely on the lists published by the JC entitled 'Our Honour Record of all Jews who are Serving', which began on 18 September 1914. Altogether 24 such lists were published, the last being in the issue of 10 March 1916. They concluded with the ending, on 2 March 1916, of voluntary enlistment of single men. These lists included men from Imperial countries and may include duplicates as well as some non-Jews included in error, but they broadly confirm the quoted figures.
By the end of the war it is thought that something like 41,000 had served in the armed forces. There are no accurate figures of the Jewish population of Great Britain, but one generally accepted one for 1914 is about 300,000; in that case, Anglo-Jewry contributed about 13.8 per cent to the armed forces, compared with 11.5 per cent for the general population. As the writers of an interesting statistical study state, that if this was in fact the case, 'it can be suggested tentatively that this was related to the younger age structure of what was largely an immigrant population and the fact that there were few Jews among the two-and-a-half million exempted men in reserved occupations, most of whom worked on the railways, in the mines, or farms or in the shipbuilding and munitions industries'. 6 However, both the figures of numbers who served and of the total Jewish population are no more than rough guesstimates and such conclusions may or may not be near the truth.
The BJBH printed Nominal Rolls of those who served in the various regiments and corps, distinguishing between officers and NCOs & men. The total number of officers listed in British units is about 1,800. This is an approximate figure as the book undoubtedly omitted some names, and there may be duplicates when officers were transferred to another regiment. As the lists are, the units with the largest number of officers were these:
|Royal Air Force||
|Army Service Corps||
|38th - 40th Royal Fusiliers||
|Machine Gun Corps||
* These were the
Jewish battalions and the majority of officers were Jews
but a number were non-Jews. Many had transferred from other regiments
and are therefore likely to be included in the number of officers in other units.
However, while the uniformed Jewish role in the war may be considered in a positive light (unless one were a pacifist) there has been another interpretation of the story. This centres on the view that the war caused the start of a long-term decline in the relative position of Jews in Britain. During the war, there was hostility towards Jews of German origin as well as towards those from Russia. Anti-alienism was perhaps an inescapable and growing accompaniment of the rising casualties, and popular anti-Germanism, such as after the sinking of the 'Lusitania' in 1915, was conflated with hostility towards Russians, most of whom were Jews. There was also antagonism towards British-born Jews. In 1917 there were anti-Jewish riots in Leeds, and there were reports of Jews being turned away from recruiting offices. 7 One conclusion of these wartime events 'was to drive a wedge into relations between Jews and the majority population' . Moreover, they called into question, after the war, 'the Jewish existence as a minority in Britain [which had] rested on a carefully worked out set of agreed criteria covering citizenship, culture and religion.' 8
This view has been attacked as being too negative, and one author has downplayed the evidence and given a different interpretation. He argues that 'In Britain (as elsewhere) the process of the acculturation of Jews, both those of long residence, and the newcomers, to the mainstream was greatly assisted by the First World War, and especially by the fact that so many thousands of younger Jews served in the Allied armies'. He notes that, 'Among the rank and file of ordinary Jewish serving men, there was, apparently, remarkably little evidence of antisemitism in the trenches'. Moreover, 'A case can be made that the years between 1918 and 1933 marked perhaps the greatest period of gain for the Jewish people in modern history'. He provides some evidence for his argument. 9 One can find support for this approach in the tributes to officers and men who died, published in the JC. They were often written by Jewish ministers of religion and were sometimes accompanied by letters of praise from non-Jewish members of their unit. While those from Commanding Officers might be considered as standard letters of praise for courage and for duty well done, others appear to come from the heart. Take this one, which is worth quoting at length. It is in a number of tributes to Glasgow-born Lt Edwin Schonfield, 2/19 London Regiment, who was killed on 2 September 1916. 10
Capt. Fred Ward, writing to Mrs. Schonfield, says: I have had your boy with me for three months now. He is a terrible loss to me. My respect for him I cannot express, his cool enduring courage, his personal example and his ever-cheerful disposition, were to us such a blessing and an asset, we can never replace him. Mr. Harris of my company [probably 2Lt George Harris] has gone out to see him buried and make the best arrangements possible to fulfil the requirements of your religious faith. Mr. Harris is a Jewish soldier and a good fellow. I immediately wrote to the Jewish Chaplain of the Forces to officiate: fortunately he was in a town about five miles away. I have instructed Mr. Harris to do all he thinks you would require, also to arrange for a suitable tablet to be erected so that you will be able to make later arrangements. Pray, tell me if there is anything I can do for you, I am at your service. I cannot do too much for him, he has done so much for me. As one example of his unselfishness, he was good enough to allow me, though his junior, to supersede him. He then asked to come into my company.
A letter, by a ranker, was sent to the father of Lt Leo Edwin Davis, Manchester Regiment, killed 7 August 1915 at Gallipoli. 'I was his orderly and all the men used to say what a nice officer we had got. He was as cool a man as I ever saw and never troubled'. 11
Who, then, were the Jewish officers? I referred at the start of this essay to the settled. anglicised section which originated in Britain before the eastern Europeans arrived. While it included many working-class Jews, a large number had prospered, becoming acculturated and middle class, living in middle-class areas of towns and cities, often had been educated at public schools (some at Jewish Houses) and, as well as London University from earlier in the 19th century, they had been accepted at last at both Oxford and Cambridge. They were generally the ones who, not unexpectedly, obtained commissions in the armed forces.
One might start with what might be termed the 'aristocracy' of Anglo-Jewry. The BJBH noted the three sons of Leopold de Rothschild who served, one being killed; there were 10 Sassoons, there were 41 members of the family of Sir Isidore Spielmann and his relatives, three were killed. The Beddington family contributed 37, all five sons of Mrs Arthur Sebag Montefiore served, one being killed at Gallipoli. One of the two officer sons of Sir Marcus Samuel, bart., was killed. 12 Herbert Samuel, the future Home Secretary, stated at the end of 1914 that he had 13 nephews and cousins serving with the colours. 13
The study referred to above examined all the soldiers, listed as dead in the Roll of Honour in BJ BH, who had addresses in the United Kingdom. It commented: 'To gain the King's Commission, even in wartime, a certain standard of education and social standing was demanded. Like their Gentile contemporaries, Jewish men who had attended public schools were more likely than others to fall into this category'. 14
A comparison can be made between officers and men who had belonged to certain Jewish institutions. (Extracted from BJBH, p. 32.)
|Jewish House, Cheltenham School||
|Jewish House, Clifton School||
|The Maccabeans (association of Jewish professional men)||
|Jews' Free School, Spitalfields||
|Borough Jewish Schools, London SE||
|Hutchison House Club, London, E.||
|Jews' Hospital & Orphan Asylum||
|Jewish Working Men's Club, Manchester||
|Stepney Jewish Lads' Club||
|Westminster Jews' Free School||
In addition, tributes in the JC to those who died often referred to their having attended other public schools. Some examples, of those who went to Cambridge afterwards, were: Lt Frederick Adolphus Aron, South Lancashire Regiment, died 23 August 1918, had been at Shrewsbury; Lt Arthur Henry Beer MC, Royal Field Artillery, died 21 April 1918, had been at Uppingham; 2Lt Crispian Asabel de Pass, Tank Corps, died 22 March 1918, was at Wellington College; Capt Wilfrid Langdon, 10 Cheshire, died 24 April 1916, had been at Rugby. Although he did not attend Cambridge University, 2Lt Joel Jacobs, Yorkshire Regiment, died 20 July 1916, had been at the Perse School, Cambridge.15
To underline this social differentiation, the study, previously referred to, analysed all the 1,941 men who are listed as having died, with a UK address, according to army status and address, including 271 officers. I have found another 46 officers who died who were omitted from BJBH (as well as several hundred Other Ranks.) Unfortunately, the addresses of many of these 46 were not given in my main source, the JC, so I shall make use of the published analysis of the 271. This is despite some ambiguities in that list. Thus it lists 2Lt Michael George Selby, Artists' Rifles, killed 27 September 1918, but in the CWGC and also in the JC his rank is given as Pte. Lt Harold Schaffer, Canadian Engineers, killed 30 October 1918, has a London address, but his enlistment papers in the Canadian Expeditionary Force shows that he was born in Dublin, that he was a mining and civil engineer, and, in one set of papers had a Los Angeles address and in another had a Canadian one. The London address is that of his mother. 16
Some men who served in the British forces were born abroad and are not included in the statistical analysis. Examples are: 2Lt Owen S. Melhado, Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds received at Gallipoli, buried Malta, came from Jamaica. Another Gallipoli casualty was 2Lt Kenneth Maurice Halgren Solomon, Gloucestershire Regiment, who died of wounds in England. He was born in Australia and had attended Oxford University just before the war. 2Lt Cecil Shekury, Bedfordshire Regiment, killed 16 April 1918, was born in Singapore and was at school in England in 1914 and enlisted in the ranks.17 A special case was that of Lt Alexander Gorodisky, who also died at Gallipoli as an officer of the Zion Mule Corps, a Jewish unit, formed mainly of men expelled by the Turks from Palestine. Some other ranks who died were from the USA. 126694 Gnr Solomon Wolf, RGA, died 18 December 1918, was from Boston, Mass. J/410061 AB Isaac Shadbrisky (served as Kelly) Royal Navy, died 6 January 1919, came from Chicago. An unusual case was that of Joseph Mandelstam, born Russia, who settled in Australia, became a coal-miner and mine manager, joined the (British) Royal Engineers in 1915. He was recommended for a commission but was killed just before this came into effect. Thus officially he remained a ranker although his papers in the TNA are among those of commissioned officers. His widow spent some time, post-war, trying to obtain a pension based on his being an officer. 18
As might be expected the British officers who died tended to live in the more salubrious areas of towns. In the London Postal Area, for example, of the 189 officers who died, 86 lived in the NW, 55 in the W district, and 13 in the SW postal district. It follows that most of the university men who were killed were officers. The Oxford Jewish Congregation published a list of members of the congregation 'who laid down their lives for King and Country'. 24 men were listed, (of whom two were residents of Oxford and were cousins). The remaining 22 were all officers. Cambridge had a larger contingent, 35 deceased officers are listed in a publication but there were at least four others, whose details were given in the JC. Of these 39 only four were not commissioned officers. 19
It is worth noting that many of those who had attended university, in the spirit of the age, had done social work in working-class districts by acting as managers in boys' clubs, or at Toynbee Hall, and also as officers of the Jewish Lads' Brigade. The latter had been founded in the 1890s by a serving Jewish officer, Colonel Albert Edward Goldsmid, and based loosely on the Boys' Brigade. This uniformed organisation suffered serious losses in the war; nearly 600 of those who died had been in the JLB. 20
There is a modification to be made of the generalisation about the middle-class nature of the Jewish officers. 2Lt Harry Lewinstein, 1 RWK, who was killed 21 July 1916, had been a Corporal in the Coldstream Guards at the start of the war and was in France in 1914. He was commissioned subsequently. 21 Another pre-war Guardsman was John Henry Levey of the Scots Guards, born 1881 in Newcastle upon Tyne to a Polish Jew and Scottish mother. He joined the Scots Guards in 1899, served in the Boer War, and at the beginning of the war in 1914 was a Sergeant-Instructor. He had attested as C of E and he formally applied to the Army in 1911 to change his recorded religion to Jewish. In fact before that he had taken part in the Chanukah Military Parade, a yearly occasion, from the early 1890s, for the gathering of men in uniform, regular and Territorial army, and naval personnel, to take part in this religious festival.
Levey was among some 400 warrant officers and NCOs who were rapidly commissioned when the war began. For three years he was engaged in training, writing two booklets: Five Instructional Lectures to Regimental Officers on the Western Campaign and What To Teach on Landscapes Targets. In 1917 he assumed command as Lt-Col of the 13 bn Royal Sussex Regiment and led it in capturing St Julien. For this he was awarded the DSO. The citation for the award stated, in part, 'In the assembly before the attack, by good judgment he almost entirely avoided casualties. He launched his battalion into the attack with ability, and commanded it throughout the action with judgment, coolness, and gallantry'.22
Another ranker, like Levey, was Joseph Miller, who was awarded the DCM for his actions during the Boer War and was commissioned in the King's African Rifles in 1907. He was born in Latvia and soon after being commissioned he was in Sunderland where he had settled and 'On the first day of Passover, after the Service in the Synagogue, a presentation was made to the newly-promoted Lieutenant'. 23 He also ended up as a Lt-Col.
Moreover some of the other officers were not from high-status families. Although Lt Henry Bloom, Yorkshire Regiment, killed 14 February 1917, had attended Liverpool University and was a solicitor, his father Isadore had been a pawnbroker in Middlesbrough at the time of the 1901 Census, but had become a Councillor. Lt John Hyman Marks 15 DLI, died 24 October 1918, was brought up by his widowed mother who, in the 1901 Census, was recorded as a jeweller in Newcastle upon Tyne. Lt Joshua Levy, Norfolk Regiment, died 19 April 1917, was described as a clothier when he attested on 2 December 1914, joining as a ranker, was quickly promoted L/Sgt, and was commissioned on 27 September 1915 His Russian-born father was also a clothier. 2Lt Bertram Bloom, King's Liverpool Regiment, died 30 June 1918, was the son of Russian-born Louis who, at the 1891 Census of West Hartlepool was a General Dealer and Moneylender. At the 1901 Census his widowed mother was a pawnbroker. Lt Moss Cohen MM, 2 DLI, died 24 September 1918, was the youngest son of Russian-born Isaac Cohen who, at the 1901 Census of Stockton-on-Tees, was a Draper, Clothier and Moneylender. A brother was a pedlar. Lt Lawrence Braham Rosenbaum, Monmouthshire Regiment, died of wounds 17 April 1918, was one of the sons of Russian-born Solomon, a pawnbroker in Tredegar at the 1901 Census. One officer who survived the war was Lt Edward Jonas Rosenberg who enlisted 1 September 1914, was a ranker until commissioned into the Hampshire Regiment on 18 December 1916. His Russian-born father was a tailor. The officer changed his name to Rossiter by Deed Poll while still in the army. He was said to be a Director of Rego Clothiers Ltd. 24
Several officers who died were the sons of religious functionaries, who generally were not well paid, although some of the sons had attended university. The best known was the earliest to be killed. He was 2Lt Leonard Herman Stern, 13 London, died 9 May 1915. He was the son of Rev Joseph Frederick Stern, of the East London Synagogue, popularly known as the 'Bishop'. The second and third deaths were those of brothers, sons of Rev Joseph Polack, who was in charge of the Jewish House at Clifton College, Bristol. They were 2Lt Benjamin James Polack, 9 Worcestershire, died 9 April 1916, and Lt Ernest Emanuel Polack, 4 Gloucestershire, died 17 July 1916. 2Lt Ernest Andrade Haines, 11 East Surrey, died 3 September 1916, was born in 1888, his father being Rev Marcus Haines, hazan (cantor) at the prestigious New West End Synagogue, His mother Louise had been born in New Zealand. His father died in 1893 and his mother married Stephen Simon Hyam, Senior Warden of that synagogue. I have been unable to locate the family in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. 25 Next to die was Lt Sydney Fine, 2/5 S Lancs, died 20 April 1917. His father was Rev Jacob Fine, Edgbaston.
The case of Capt Cecil H. Marks, Royal Flying Corps, killed in an air fight 23 October 1915, is slightly different. He was the grandson of Professor David Woolf Marks, who had been Senior Minister of the (Reform) West London Synagogue and was Professor of Hebrew at University College London, and was the son of Major Claude Marks, Highland Light Infantry, who was awarded the DSO in the South African War. Cecil H. Marks had been at Eton and Sandhurst and had been among the first 100 English officers to learn flying. 26
Much of this article has been concerned with those who were killed or died on active service and deals mainly with junior officers. The most senior Jewish officer was Lieut.-General John Monash of the Australian forces who ended the war as Commander of the Australian Corps in France. He was something of national hero in Australia and he was given a state funeral in 1931. The most senior officer in the British Army was T/Brigadier-General Herbert Spencer Seligman DSO, Royal Artillery, son of Leopold Seligman, German-born merchant banker. Quite a number of Jews became Lt-Colonels in the course of the war, including Clarence John Elkan, Royal Irish Fusiliers, who was awarded the DSO for service in France in the early part of the war. 27 Lt-Col Edward Henry Lionel Beddington, 16 Lancers, was also in France in 1914. The BJBH lists some dozen officers in addition who became Lt-Colonels.
A large section of BJBH is devoted to lists of those who obtained honours and awards. Five Jews were awarded the Victoria Cross, of whom one was an officer in the British Army and one in the Indian Army. 39 officers in the British and Indian forces obtained the Distinguished Service Order, 209 the Military Cross, 199 were Mentioned in Despatches and 77 obtained Foreign Honours. There was much overlap - some men appeared in more than one category and some were mentioned in despatches several times: Lt-Col E.H.L. Beddington was mentioned six times as was Lt-Col J. Waley Cohen, DSO. Lt-Col C.J. Elkan, DSO, was mentioned five times, and others were mentioned up to four times.
Three other awards are worth mentioning separately. They went to three Jewish residents of Palestine who while under Turkish control spied for the British and were said to have been instrumental in supplying intelligence which was of crucial importance in the defeat of the Turkish army in Palestine. The NILI Ring was compose of members of the Aaronson (or Aaronsohn) family and others, some of whom died. 'NILI' consists of the initial Hebrew letters of the biblical phrase -- transliterated from the Hebrew -- 'Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker', which means ' The God of Israel will not lie' (Samuel I 15:29).
The citation for the DSO for Alexander Aaronson was as follows: 28
Local Lt. Alexander Aaronson (EGYPT). For gallant conduct and daring on 2nd September, 1918, in penetrating the enemy's line and carrying out a reconnaissance which resulted in obtaining information which proved invaluable in subsequent operations.
Although the citation refers to one date, late in the war, he had been appointed a Local Lieutenant on 1 December 1917 and accounts of the NILI Ring refer to their activities before 1918. 29
The other two Palestinian Jews were awarded the OBE; they were Lt Liova Shneerson and Lt Jussef Davidesco. Both were apparently members of the NILI Ring. 30 Their citations recorded that they had both penetrated the Turkish lines and obtained useful intelligence. They both carried their life in their hands, according to their citations, each of which ends in a similar way. 'His services were of the greatest use to Intelligence, and at all times and in various ways he exhibited conspicuous patriotism and devotion to the cause which he had at heart'. (There is a minor variation in the punctuation between the two citations). 31
It is well known that officers suffered a higher proportion of casualties than did other ranks. The deceased Jewish officers included many who were among the increasing number of young British Jews who attended university. Moreover, many of them were committed to activity within the community and promised to be leaders of the next generation in Anglo-Jewry. A recent study of one aspect of the modern history of the Jews of Britain states:
No greater change came over the Anglo-Jewish community than that which saw the steady transfer of office and influence from lay leadership primarily based on lineage (which was often accompanied by genuine governmental and administrative skills) to lay leadership whose style and aspirations sprang from comparatively recent immigration.32
One wonders whether the deaths of so many of the sons of the old elite may have been a factor, albeit a minor one, in the inexorable move away from an elitist-led Jewish community to one governed by the children of eastern European immigrants. Some were simply not there to take up such leading positions.
Some biographical accounts by and of Jewish officers.
Arthur Behrend, Make me a Soldier. A Platoon Commander in Gallipoli, 1961.
Arthur Behrend, As From Kemmel Hill: an Adjutant in France and Flanders, 1917 & 1918, 1963.
E. Beddington-Behrens, Look Forward, Look Back, 1963.
Brunel Benn Cohen, Count Your Blessings, 1956.
Jacqueline Gill, 'World War One Soldiers' Records at Kew', Shemot [Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain], vol. 6, no. 2, June 1998, p. 12 re Lt Neville Newman, Highland Light Infantry, killed 28 June 1916.
David Higham, Literary Gent, 1978 [of Jewish origin].
Henry Dennis Myer, 'Soldiering of Sorts', 1979 (MS).
Vivien de Sola Pinto, 'My first war: memoirs of a spectacled subaltern', in George A. Paniches (ed.), Promises of Greatness, 1969, pp. 67-84.
Irene Shub, 'Not forgotten after 90 years', Shemot, vol 16 no 3 November 2008, pp. 12-14, re Lt Albert Isaacs, Middlesex Regiment, died 2 September 1917.
Vincent Julian Seligman, Macedonian Musings, 1918.
Vincent Julian Seligman, The Salonica Sideshow, 1919.
1 However, Russophobia was not uncommon in Britain. See Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War, paperback 1998, pp. 184-5, for some comments. Go back to where you were reading
2 Harold Pollins, 'Errors, Omissions, and Duplication in the British Jewry Book of Honour', Stand To! No. 80, September 2007, pp. 52-55. Since that date a number of 'additional' names have been accepted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There are also the persistent problem of defining who is a Jew. In the Orthodox tradition it is passed from the mother and would therefore include Captain Neil Primrose, the son of the 5th Earl of Rosebery and his wife, Hannah de Rothschild. He was killed in Palestine in 1917, serving in the Royal Bucks Hussars, along with his cousin, Major Evelyn de Rothschild, who was also killed there. Primrose's headstone in Ramleh War Cemetery supports a cross. Go back to where you were reading
3 Jewish Chronicle (henceforth JC), 25 September 1914, p. 6 (Henriques); ibid., 8 October 1915, p.19, says that Schreiber and Abinger were cousins. Go back to where you were reading
4 ibid., 20 November 1914, p. 14; 27 November 1914, p.13. Go back to where you were reading
5 ibid, 1 January 1915, pp. 1, 12. His brother, 2Lt William Ewart Woodburn Bamberger was killed nearly three years later, on 16 August 1917. Their father wrote two volumes of autobiography: Louis Bamberger, Memories of Sixty Years in the Timber and Pianoforte Trade, 1929; ibid., Bow Bell Memories, 1931. Go back to where you were reading
6 Barry A. Kosmin, Stanley Waterman, and Nigel Grizzard, 'The Jewish Dead in the Great War as an Indicator for the Location, Size and Social Structure of Anglo-Jewry in 1914', Immigrants and Minorities, vol. 5, no. 2, 1985, p. 183. Go back to where you were reading
7 One consequence was the opening in 1915 of a Central Jewish Recruitment Office at Rothschild's Bank, New Court, St Swithin's Lane, in the City of London. The chairman was Edmund Sebag-Montefiore and the vice-chairman Major Lionel de Rothschild MP. See Harold Pollins, 'The Rothschilds as Recruiters for Buckinghamshire', http://www.hellfire-corner.demon.co.uk/snillop.htm accessed August 2009. Go back to where you were reading
8 David Cesarani, 'An Embattled Minority: the Jews in Britain During the First World War', Immigrants and Minorities, vol. 8, nos. 1 & 2, 1898, p. 63. The article was reprinted in Tony Kushner and Kenneth Lunn (eds.), The Politics of Marginality. Race, the Radical Right and Minorities in Twentieth Century Britain, 1990. Go back to where you were reading
9 W. D. Rubinstein, A History of the Jews in the English-speaking World: Great Britain, 1996, pp.194, 195, 193. Go back to where you were reading
10 JC, 6 October 1916, p.17. Go back to where you were reading
11 ibid 8 October 1915, p. 19. Go back to where you were reading
12 BJBH, p. 25. Go back to where you were reading
13 JC, 25 December 1914, p. 13. Go back to where you were reading
14 Kosmin et al, in Note 4, pp.183-4. Go back to where you were reading
15 Aron, JC , 6 September 1918, p. 16; Beer, ibid., 3 May 1918, p. 14; de Pass, ibid., 12 April 1918, p. 10; Langdon, ibid., 9 June 1916, p. 10; Jacobs, ibid., 4 August 1916, p. 12. Go back to where you were reading
16 Selby, JC, 13 December 1918, p. 13; Schaffer, Canadian National Archives, RG150, Accession 1992-93/166 Box 8687-62. Go back to where you were reading
17 JC, 28 June 1918, p. 15. Go back to where you were reading
18 'Commissioned or Not', Bulletin of the Military Historical Society, vol. 149, no. 194; The National Archives (henceforth TNA) WO393/130524 for Mandelstam's papers. Go back to where you were reading
19 Oxford Jewish Congregation, Order of Service on the Occasion of the Reception of Two Scrolls of the Law from the Canterbury Jewish Congregation, 21 June 1931, pp. 19-20. Bodleian Library, 945 e. 19; William Frankel and Harvey Miller (eds.), Gown & Tallith: in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Cambridge University Jewish Society, 1989. Go back to where you were reading
20 Sharman Kadish, A Good Jew and a Good Englishman: The Jewish Lads and Girls' Brigade, 1895-1995, 1995. Go back to where you were reading
21 JC, 18 August 1918, p. 12. Go back to where you were reading
22 Changboo Kang, ' "An Unforgettable, but Completely Forgotten Man": Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Henry Levey DSO OBE: Part I', www.firstworldwar.bham.ac.uk/forgotten/1J%20H%20Levey%20Part%20l.doc accessed July 2009. I understand that Part II was never written. The research for this study was done at the Centre for First World War Studies, University of Birmingham. Go back to where you were reading
23 JC, 12 April 1907, p. 14, quoted in Arnold Levy, History of the Sunderland Jewish Community 1755-1955, 1956, p.23. Go back to where you were reading
24 Bloom, JC, 23 February 1917, p. 15; Levy, TNA, WO374/41866; Rosenbaum, JC, 10 May 1918, p,. 10; Rosenberg, TNA, WO339/69932. London Gazette, 26 July 1918, p. 8,936 for Deed Poll. Go back to where you were reading
25 1891 Census for details on the father; also 'The New West End Synagogue, 1879-2004', Lecture by Elkan Levy in http://newwestend.org.uk/docs/EDUlecture.pdf accessed August 2009. Among Other Ranks, 31029 Pte David Godfrey Collins, Grenadier Guards, died 11 October 1918, was the son of a minister, Rev. Edwin Collins: JC, 25 October 1918. The entry in the CWGC records describe him as 'Poet, Botanist, Mathematician and Peace Lover', no doubt inserted by his parents. 2130 Pte Lionel Emanuel Goldston 21 London, died 30 May 1915, was the son of Rev. Nehemiah Goldston of the South-East London Synagogue. 415193 Rfn Godfrey Levy London Regiment, died 22 December 1917, was a nephew of Rev. Nehemiah Goldston. For Goldston and Levy, see Rosemary Wenzerul, 'The family detective', Shemot, vol. 8, no. 4, December 2000, pp.38-9; ibid., 'From a Cross to a Star of David', Shemot, vol. 9, no. 4, December 2001, pp. 26-7. Go back to where you were reading
26 JC, 5 November 1915, p. 12. Go back to where you were reading
27 London Gazette, 18 February 1915, p. 1,697. Go back to where you were reading
28 ibid., 8 August 1919, p. 10,077. Go back to where you were reading
29 TNA, WO 374/1. File of Capt Alexander Aaronson. He was appointed Local Capt in September 1919. For the NILI Ring see, inter alia, Anita Engle, The NILI Spies, 1959; Anthony Verrier (ed.), Agents of Empire. Anglo-Zionist Intelligence Operations, 1915-1919: Brigadier Walter Gribbon, Aaronsohn, and the NILI Ring, 1995; Shmuel Katz, The Aaronsohn Saga, 2007. Go back to where you were reading
30 The citations are in BJBH, p. 156. I have been unable to locate them in the London Gazette. Shneerson's membership of NILI is mentioned in http://www.freedomfightersofnili.com/nili_facts.php accessed 10 August 2009; Jacob(sic) Davidesco is noted in JC, 9 April 1920, p. 21. In the JC, 25 March 1921, p. 16, the names are spelled Lova Shneersohn and Joseph Davidasco. Go back to where you were reading
31 Davidescu appeared later in the history of the Middle East. In 1922, although he had been convicted of perjury, it was decided that he should not forfeit his OBE. And the forfeiture was again considered after his conviction in December 1929 for the unlawful possession of arms and armaments, for which he was imprisoned for six months and fined. TNA CO 448/36/2. In August 1945 he was murdered by member of the Stern gang, doubtless for being responsible for the capture of the leader of the Stern Group in Egypt. TNA Co 733/456/12. Go back to where you were reading
32 Israel Finestein, Studies and Profiles in Anglo-Jewish History: From Picciotto to Bermant, 2008, p. xi. Go back to where you were reading
Copyright © Harold Pollins,
This article appeared in Siegfried's Journal - Newsletter of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, N0.17, Winter 2010.
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