The Death of Harold Pinter

Playwright Harold Pinter, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, died in London at 78 on this date in 2008. Pinter was evacuated from that city during World War II and experienced numerous instances of British antisemitism in the course of his childhood, but he was always reluctant to identify passionately as a Jew […]

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The Sister

Yiddish writer Esther Kreitman, sister to the world-famous I.B. Singer and Yiddish writer I.J. Singer, died in London at age 63 on this date in 1954. Kreitman was a highly intelligent child who, as a girl, was denied education and attention in her Orthodox family. According to Faith Jones at the Jewish Women’s Archive, Kreitman “nevertheless […]

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Socking It to T.S. Eliot

Poet Emanuel Litvinoff, who criticized T.S. Eliot’s antisemitism in a poem, “To T.S. Eliot,” which he read in 1951 to a crowd that included the 1948 Nobel Laureate, was born in London on this date in 1915. Litvinoff wrote several volumes of poetry as well as novels that dealt with Jewish immigrant life in East […]

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December 9: Mark Gertler and D.H. Lawrence

Painter Mark Gertler, whose life, poverty, and death inspired at least three fictional characters — the main protagonist of Gilbert Cannan’s novel Mendel, Herr Loerke in D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, and Gombauld in Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow — was born in London on this date in 1891. Gertler, according to his biographer Sarah […]

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December 31: Jule Styne, Time After Time

Jule Styne (Julius Stein), whose songwriting collaborations with Sammy Kahn (as well as Stephen Sondheim, Bob Merrill, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green, among others) yielded the scores for such hit Broadway shows as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy, and Funny Girl, was born in London on this date in 1905. Styne was a […]

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September 20: Yom Kippur Anarchists’ Ball, 1893

The anarchist Yiddish newspaper Fraye Arbiter Shtime (Free Voice of Labor) sponsored its annual Yom Kippur concert and ball, “with a pleasant… and tasteful buffet,” at Clarendon Hall, 114 East 13th Street, in New York City on this date in 1893. This mass anti-religious event was met by “an estimated mob of five to six […]

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April 3: Jack the Ripper

The first of eleven unsolved murders of women by “Jack the Ripper” occurred in the impoverished Whitechapel District of the East End of London on this date in 1888. Two Jews have been leading suspects in the “Ripper” murders: Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew who worked as a hairdresser in Whitechapel and died in an […]

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May 19: Nicholas Winton’s Children

Nicholas Winton (Wertheim), who helped to organize the Czech kindertransport that saved 669 children, most of them Jews, from Nazism on the eve of World War II, was born to German Jewish parents, converts to Christianity, in London on this date in 1909. Winton was a London stockbroker when he was approached by a friend […]

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