Marcus Roberts


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War-Time Evacuees and Refugees

The main Jewish history of Brackley was during World War II, when a small Jewish community established itself in town and in nearby villages, for the duration of the war. The core of the community, were a group of mainly Orthodox Jewish families (and extended families and relatives) who voluntarily evacuated themselves to Brackley, mostly from North London. It seems that there was a pattern of upper-middle class families and individuals evacuating themselves to rural Oxford shire and Northamptonshire.

These were successful Jewish business people, who chose to come to Brackley, as it was largely, if not entirely safe, from Nazi bombs; there was suitable housing and it was on a direct rail-link to London. Various members of the family made a daily commute to London until they were called up for their war-service. Perhaps, most of all, these families came to Brackley, because of its excellent educational at Winchester House School, Magdalen College School, Brackley High School, as well as a good local dame school run by Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy.

The names of these families and individuals who came to Brackley included, Tibber, Froomberg, Lazarus, Deyong, Sklan, Israel, Brown, Glanvile, Klarenmayer, and Goodman. The Warshaw's lived in the nearby village of Turweston. The Israel family were a leading Jewish food whole-saler, and the Tibber's were mantle makers.

There were also other European refugees, who escaped the Holocaust, attached to these families. Max Walker (Wolkowicz) was a Polish boy aged about 12 years, who stayed with the Tibbers. He came from Poland on a Kinder Transport, but his parents perished in the Holocaust. Two German refugees sisters aged about 30 Anna and Ruth Klarenmeyer managed to escape Germany and worked as cooks, firstly at Winchester House School and then for the Tibber family. Most of their family perished in the Holocaust. Some German Jews were able to escape if they were offered a formal invitation and work to go to in this country, with many taking on domestic and nursing work.

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