King Arthur expert leaves £1.5 million to Manchester University

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 31, 2014

A leading Jewish academic who escaped Nazi Germany as a child has left a £1.5 million fortune to Manchester University where she spent much of her career.

Professor Fanni Bogdanow, a world expert on King Arthur, died last July aged 86.

Prof Bogdanow was responsible for uncovering new information about the Arthurian legend. Her own personal life had something of a legendary quality about it, too.

She fled Nazi Germany in 1939 as an 11-year-old child on the Kindertransport, while her parents were taken to the Dachau, Wulzberg and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Miraculously the couple survived and were re-united with their only daughter in Manchester after the war.

At the age of 17, Prof Bogdanow was awarded three entrance scholarships to the university where she studied French. She went on to spend much of her working life there as a postgraduate student, lecturer, reader and professor, becoming an authority on the story of Camelot and the knights of the round table.

She died with no close relatives. Her bequest to the university will fund a series of lectures at its Centre for Jewish Studies, starting next year to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day. The money will also fund prizes for high- performing students.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the universty, said: “Professor Bogdanow was a remarkable scholar with a remarkable story.

“She was able to conquer extreme adversity to become one of the leading scholars in her field and a valued member of the university community.”

Prof Rothwell added that the bequest would “be used in a manner which will serve as a fitting tribute to her memory”.

Last updated: 12:45am, January 31 2014