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Abrahams, Doris Caroline [pseud. Caryl Brahms] (1901–1982), writer and songwriter, was born at 28 Morland Road, Croydon, Surrey, on 8 December 1901, the only child of Henry Clarence Abrahams, a wholesale jeweller, and his wife, Pearl, one of the twenty-one children of ...

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Blue, Lionel (1930–2016), rabbi, broadcaster, and author, was born on 6 February 1930 at the Mothers’ Hospital in Hackney, London, as Lionel Bluestein, the only child of Harris (Harry) Bluestein, later Harry Blue (1890–1965), tailor, and his wife Hetty, or Hettie, ...

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Lionel Blue (1930–2016), by David Levenson, 2005

David Levenson/Getty Images

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Byrne [née King], Charlotte [pseud. Charlotte Dacre] (1782?–1825), writer, was the daughter of John King, born Jacob Rey (c. 1753–1823), a moneylender and radical writer well known in London society. Her father divorced her mother, Sara, née Lara, under Jewish law in 1784 before setting up home with the ...

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Alan Coren (1938–2007) by Terry O'Neill, 1990 Getty Images

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Coren, Alan (1938–2007), humorous writer, was born on 27 June 1938 at 2 Queensdown Road, Hackney, London, the son of Samuel Coren, builder and plumber, and his wife, Martha, née Coren, hairdresser. At the time of his birth registration his parents lived at ...

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Jenny Diski (1947–2016), by Michael Bennett, 1990

© Michael Bennett/National Portrait Gallery, London

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Diski [née Simmonds], Jennifer Jane (Jenny) (1947–2016), novelist and author, was born on 8 July 1947 at the Welbeck Hospital, 27 Welbeck Street, Marylebone, London, the daughter of James Simmonds, formerly Israel Zimmerman (1908–1966), a small-scale entrepreneur, black marketeer, and con-man, and his wife, ...

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Isaac D'Israeli (1766–1848) by Daniel Maclise, 1828 National Trust Photographic Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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D'Israeli, Isaac (1766–1848), writer, was born on 11 May 1766 at 5 Great St Helen's, London, the only child of Benjamin D'Israeli (1730–1816), merchant, and his second wife, Sarah Syprut de Gabay Villa Real (1742/3–1825). D'Israeli's father was born at Cento, Ferrara, emigrated to ...

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Figes [née Unger], Eva (1932–2012), feminist and writer, was born on 15 April 1932 in Berlin, the elder child of Emil Edward Unger (1904–1973), company director, and his wife, Irma Alice, née Cohen (1905–1991). On Kristallnacht in November 1938 her father was arrested and sent to ...

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Fletcher, Winston (1937–2012), advertising executive and writer, was born Winston Fleisher on 15 July 1937 at the London Hospital in Stepney, Whitechapel, London, the youngest of five children of Abraham Uscher Fleisher, later Albert Fletcher (d. 1963), and his wife, Bessie, née...

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Golding, Louis (1895–1958), writer, the second son of the four children of Philip Golding (d. c.1916), religious orator and teacher, and his wife, Yetta (d. c.1913), was born at Red Bank, Manchester, on 19 November 1895. His parents were Orthodox Jews who had immigrated to ...

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Charlotte Haldane (1894–1969) by unknown photographer, 1938 [left, with her son Ronnie Burghes, Maria Teresa Gouzalez, and some Basque children] © reserved; private collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Haldane [née Franken], Charlotte (1894–1969), writer, was born on 27 April 1894 in Sydenham, south London, the elder daughter of German Jewish immigrants Joseph Franken (d. c.1935) and his wife, Mathilde (c.1873–c.1955), whose father, Julius Saarbach...

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Hanff, Helene (1916–1997), writer and Anglophile in the USA, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, on 15 April 1916, the third child and only daughter of Arthur Hanff and his wife, Miriam, née Levy. In his youth, her father had a short-lived career 'as a song-and-dance man', but later settled down with her mother and became a shirt salesman. His love of the theatre persisted, however, and ...

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Hoban, Russell Conwell (1925–2011), author, was born on 4 February 1925 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA, the youngest of three children of Abram Hoban, advertising manager, and his wife, Jeanette (Jenny), née Dimmerman, both Jewish–Ukrainian immigrants. He had two elder sisters, Tana (in later years a renowned photographer) and ...

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Jacob Isaacs (1896–1973) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Isaacs, Jacob (1896–1973), literary scholar, was born in London on 6 December 1896, the son of the Revd Moses David Isaacs and his wife, Jessie, daughter of the Revd Moses Bregman. Isaacs's parents were Orthodox Jews, and he was brought up in the largely Jewish ...

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David Kossoff (1919–2005) by unknown photographer, 1987 Rex Features