Marcus Roberts


Bookmark this page |  E-mail this page to a friend

Pages < 1   2   3   4   5   6   > 

The Jewish community were not the only exotic presence in town - there were black American GIs based in the Station Yard at Brackley station, with their tanks and gum. Marjorie Reader, a child evacuee to Brackley recalls, 'Some of the soldiers were black and some local children had never seen black people before, but they were very kind and offered us sweets and gum (which were on ration).' Members of the Pioneer Corp were also working at Hinton airfield erecting poles for landing lights - these labourers may have been Polish and Czech and probably included refugee Jews in their ranks. There were also Italian prisoners of war in a large building off the High Street, who were allowed to sit on the steps of the building, but whom the children were forbidden to talk to. There were also German prisoners of war in the area working on the land.

At the end of the war some stateless and displaced persons from Europe also found a home in and around Brackley and one of them (Sveta, a former Yugoslav Chetnik) was a witness to the aftermath of a Nazi pogrom in his town, where all of the Jewish shop keepers were slaughtered and then hung standing in the doorways of their businesses with wire, as if still ready for business.

The community largely organized Jewish religious life in their own homes and services were often held in the Tibber's home at the Red House where, 'the ark was an upturned cardboard packing case and a Sepher Torah [Torah Scroll] was brought from London by David Green, a relative. A room in the Crown Hotel was taken for Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) services by Derek Froomberg's grandfather. Kosher meat was sent up from London by train in packages that had to be collected from the railway station, which could mean a freezing wait in the cold for some hours it to turn up, by one of the children- if it did! The community were also linked to the larger evacuee Jewish community in Banbury, and a Hebrew teacher was sent out from there to help the children with their Hebrew in classes held at the Froomberg's house, Crewe House on Banbury Road.

At the end of the War there were major local celebrations in Brackley, for VE Day around the Crown Hotel on May 8th, 1945, with dancing and partying in the Market Square. Derek Froomberg recalls, 'I remember the VE Day celebrations, at the end of the European war and somehow we were on the balcony of the Crown Hotel overlooking the Market Square as we were all celebrating the victory.' The Jewish families eventually made there way back to their lives and livelihoods in London. However, all recall their sojourn in Brackley with the greatest of affection and Jacqueline Toff (Tibber) relates, 'my years in Brackley gave me an abiding love of the countryside, of gardens and of growing things. It was a time that had a great effect on the person I became.'

Post a Comment
Submit to this trail