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Abrahams, Barnett (1831–1863), college head, was born in Warsaw, Poland, eldest child of Abraham Susman (c.1801–1880), known as Abraham Abrahams, and his second wife, Esther Reisel. His father, a leading authority on Jewish religious slaughter, settled in England in 1839 and was joined by his wife and son two years later. Two further sons were born in 1843 and 1844....

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Benmohel, Nathan Lazarus (1803–1869), Hebrew and German scholar, was born in Hamburg, Germany, son of Rabbi Elieza Lazi (1741–1841), presiding judge, or dayan, of Posen, and the united congregations of Altona, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck. His mother was the daughter of Rabbi Todros Munk...

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Buchler, Adolph (1867–1939), college head, was born into a poor family of rabbinic stock on 18 October 1867 in the Slovakian village of Priekopa, then in Hungary. His father died in Adolph's infancy. He and his sister were brought up by their mother, whose brother was ...

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Cowen, Sir Zelman (1919–2011), legal scholar, governor-general of Australia, and college head, was born Zelman Cohen on 7 October 1919 in St Kilda, Melbourne, the only son of Bernard Cohen, later Cowen (1892–1975), businessman, and his wife Sara, née Granat (1893–1989). In March 1922 his father changed his surname by deed poll. Both families were part of the mass exodus of Jews from tsarist ...

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Sir Zelman Cowen (1919–2011) by Wes Walters, 2000 © National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Gift of Marc Besen AO and Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE 2000

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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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Laski, Harold Joseph (1893–1950), political theorist, was born on 30 June 1893 at Smedley House, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, the second of the three children of Nathan Laski (1863–1941), a successful cotton exporter, and his wife, Sarah Frankenstein (1869–1945). Nathan was the most prominent figure in the ...

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Harold Joseph Laski (1893–1950) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Leavis [née Roth], Queenie Dorothy (1906–1981), literary scholar, was born on 7 December 1906 at 79 Silver Street, Edmonton, Middlesex, the second of the three children of Morris Roth (1876–1953), hosier, and afterwards draper, and Jane Davis (1876–1940). Her parents were observant Jews. She was educated at ...

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Zepler, Eric Ernest [formerly Erich Ernst] (1898–1980), electrical engineer and university teacher, was born on 27 January 1898 in Herford, Westphalia, Germany, the younger son of Martin Zepler (1862–1939), a country doctor, and his wife, Flora Guttfreund (1866–1943). His Jewish parents converted to Christianity in 1902, and he was baptized in the ...