Plot to kill the wartime Foreign Secretary revealed

By Bernard Josephs, April 4, 2011

It was a particularly difficult moment for Major James Robertson, head of MI5's Middle East section, when Ernest Bevin decided, in 1946, to pay a visit to Egypt.

As if that year's blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by Jewish insurgents had not been enough, his desk was littered with agents' reports, all carrying the same deadly message.


On this day: The Alhambra Decree

By Jennifer Lipman, March 31, 2011

The Spanish Inquisition, when the Catholic ruling couple Ferdinand and Isabella waged their murderous campaign against the Jews of Spain and then Portugal, was one of the darkest periods in European history.


Gandhi had Jewish architect lover, claims biographer

By Jennifer Lipman, March 28, 2011

A biographer of Mahatma Gandhi has claimed that the hero of Indian independence had a male Jewish partner who almost caused the break-up of his marriage.

In his book, Great Soul, former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld said Gandhi met German Jewish architect Hermann Kallenbach in 1908.


Africa's Jewish apartheid fighters honoured with stamp set

By Jennifer Lipman, March 22, 2011

The “extraordinary” efforts of Jewish heroes of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa have been honoured by three African countries.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Gambia have issued three sets of special commemorative stamps to mark the contribution of figures including Helen Suzman, Eli Weinberg and Ronald Segal.


On this day: Karl Marx dies

By Jennifer Lipman, March 9, 2011

Perhaps the most famous thinker of all time, Karl Marx died in 1883 at the age of 64. The father of communism, the man whose theories of work, class struggle and alienation transformed the world in the 20th century and continue to appeal to many today, was buried in his adopted home of Highgate.


History in your attic

February 11, 2011

Budding artists and long-forgotten ones will be the subjects of an exhibition of Jewish art and crafts being staged as part of Leeds' celebration of 150 years of Jewish history.

Helen Frais from educational charity Makor, which is co-ordinating the project, is looking for artists to work on the day and pieces made by older generations.

"In the days before iPods, people actually made things - they did embroidery, made Judaica and pottery. We want people to dig around in the attic. They might find something to exhibit. We also want Leeds artists to show their skills."


On this day: New Amsterdam becomes a city

By Jennifer Lipman, February 2, 2011

The city now known as the Big Apple began life as a Dutch colonial settlement, taking the name New York in 1664. Chosen as the capital of New Netherland and given municipal rights on February 2 1653, it had a population of just 5,000 by 1700 but by the time of American independence that had grown to about 25,000.

There are now near to 19 million people in New York State; it is estimated that more than 1.6 million of them are Jewish. It wasn’t always that way; the first Jewish community arrived in 1654.


Family's Holocaust-era letters to be translated

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A Southampton historian has received a £9,000 grant to translate and catalogue thousands of newly-discovered letters between an exiled German Jew and his family in Nazi Germany.

The collection of 2,500 letters was found by Daniel Schwab in his parents’ garage in Johannesburg and is now the subject of a research project by Dr Shirli Gilbert of the University of Southampton.


On this day: The Doctors’ Plot

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

In the terrible and tragic history of the Jewish experience in the post-war communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe, one incident in particular stands out. It began with an editorial published in the Pravda newspaper.

The article accused a group of nine high-profile doctors, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, of conspiring to assassinate the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin by poisoning him.


Ozzy Osbourne's father-in-law added to Dictionary of National Biography

By Jennifer Lipman, January 6, 2011

Humorist Alan Coren and the music impresario father of Sharon Osbourne are among the Jewish names who have been added to Britain’s most prestigious biographical collection.

A total of 216 famous faces who died in 2007 have been added to the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB).