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Aaronson, Lazarus (1895–1966), poet and educationist, was born at 34 Great Pearl Street, Spitalfields, London, on 18 February 1895, the son of Louis Aaronson, master bootmaker, and his wife, Sarah, née Kowalski. His parents were impoverished Jewish immigrants from Vilna in the Pale...

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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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Abse, Daniel [Dannie] (1923–2014), physician, poet, and author, was born on 22 September 1923 at 161 Whitchurch Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff, the youngest of four children of Rudolf Abse (1887–1964), cinema proprietor, and his wife, Kate, née Shepherd (1890–1981...

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Aguilar, Grace (1816–1847), writer on Jewish history and religion and novelist, was born on 2 June 1816 in Hackney, Middlesex, the eldest of the three children of Emanuel Aguilar (1787–1845), merchant, and his wife, Sarah (d. 1854), daughter of Jacob Dias Fernandez...

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Allan, Elkan Philip (1922–2006), journalist and television producer, was born Elkan Philip Cohen at 16 Hoveden Road, Cricklewood, London, on 8 December 1922, the son of Allan Cohen, (d. 1952), furrier, later an owner of printing presses, and his wife, Rose, née...

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Angel, Moses (1817/18–1898), headmaster and journal editor, was one of the eleven children of Emmanuel Moses (d. 1841), a publican, and his wife, Sarah. At some stage he transposed his name from Angel Moses to Moses Angel, probably in 1839 when his father was convicted at the ...

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Ballin, Ada Sarah (1862–1906), magazine editor and proprietor, and writer on health, was born on 4 May 1862 at 47 Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, London, first of the three children of Isaac Ballin (c.1811–1897), merchant, and his wife, Annie, née Moss. She was brought up in a Jewish home and educated privately before attending ...

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Peter Henry Barnes (1931–2004) by James F. Hunkin, 1991 James F. Hunkin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barnes, Peter Henry (1931–2004), playwright and screenwriter, was born on 10 January 1931 at 33 Devons Road, Bromley, London, the son of (James) Frederick Barnes, fairground caterer and café owner, and his wife, Martha, née Miller.

I grew up in a downmarket seaside resort on the east coast where my parents worked in amusement arcades on the pier and later owned two cafés on the seafront, along with the cockles and whelks stalls, the deckchairs, Punch and Judy booths, and artists who would draw, with a pointed stick, elegant pictures in the wet sand....

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Thompson Cooper

revised by John Wells

Barnett, Morris (1800–1856), actor and playwright, was of Jewish descent. He trained as a musician, and the earlier part of his life was spent in Paris. Having resolved to earn his living as an actor, he went as a comedian to Brighton and then to ...

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Baron, (Joseph) Alexander (1917–1999), novelist and screenwriter, was born Joseph Alexander Bernstein on 4 December 1917 at 30 Penyston Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, the son of Barnet Bernstein, later Baron (1894–1977), a Polish-born furrier, and his wife, Fanny, née Levinson (1895–1973). Once settled in ...

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Beer [née Sassoon], Rachel (1858–1927), newspaper proprietor and editor, was born in Bombay, India, the middle child and only daughter of Sassoon David Sassoon (1832–1867), a Jewish merchant, and his wife, Farha, née Reuben (b. 1828). Rachel's father arrived in England...

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Beloff, (Leah) Nora (1919–1997), journalist, was born on 24 January 1919 at 65 Oakwood Court, Kensington, London, the middle of five children (two sons and three daughters) of Simon Beloff and his wife, Marie, formerly Katzin. Her elder brother Max, later Lord Beloff (1913–1999)...

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Sidney Lee

revised by Roger T. Stearn

Benisch, Abraham (1811–1878), Hebraist and newspaper editor, was born to Jewish parents at Drossau, a small town 8 miles south-west of Klattau in Bohemia. About 1836 he studied surgery at Prague University where, with other Jewish students, he formed an organization for re-establishing Jewish independence in ...

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Bensusan, Samuel Levy (1872–1958), journalist and author, was born on 29 September 1872 at Dulwich, London, the second of five children of Jacob Samuel Levy Bensusan (1846–1917), feather merchant, and Miriam (1848–1926), the daughter of Moses Levy Bensusan and his wife, Emily. His parents were Orthodox Sephardi Jews of Spanish descent whose ancestors had held high office in the courts of the ...

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Binstead, Arthur Morris [nicknamed Pitcher] (1861–1914), journalist and author, was born on 6 January 1861 at 106 Great Titchfield Street, Marylebone, London, the son of Arthur William Binstead, manager of the Continental Gallery in Bond Street, and his wife, Mary Ann Morriss...

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Birk [née Wilson], Alma Lillian, Baroness Birk (1917–1996), politician and journalist, was born on 22 September 1917 at 10 Belgrave Place, Brighton, the daughter of Barnett Wilson (formerly Woolfson) of Stamford Hill, London, and his wife, Alice, née Tosh. Her father ran a successful greeting-card company, and she enjoyed a comfortable upbringing. She was educated at ...

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Henri Georges Stephan Adolphe Opper de Blowitz (1825–1903) by Henri Dochy © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blowitz, Henri Georges Stephan Adolphe Opper de (1825–1903), journalist, was born at Blovice in the Plzeň district of Bohemia, on 28 December 1825, the elder son of Marc Opper or Oppert, a tradesman, and Anne Hartmann. The exact circumstances of his early life are uncertain; the account that he dictated for his posthumously published ...

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Brandon [formerly Brandeis], (Oscar) Henry (1916–1993), journalist, was born on 9 March 1916 in Liberec, Bohemia—then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but shortly to become part of Czechoslovakia—the only child of a banker in Prague whose family name was Brandeis...