Born in the late 40’s – growing up in the 50’s – my earliest memories are of a media dominated by stories and images of the Second World War and the unfolding horrors of the concentration camps. At a very early age I recognised that blind allegiance and unquestioning loyalty, to a political party in Germany, had taken precedence over any sense of right or morality.
What had happened in Germany during the war was all the more confusing for me as a child, as here in Macclesfield – all of the Jewish people I and my family knew – had only ever displayed warmth.
The Celebration of local Jewish Life, Art and Enterprise in WW2 exhibition, currently running at Charles Roe House in Chestergate, brought many early memories flooding back.
Of ‘Joey’ Weinberg and his family – who showed such kindness and generosity to my mother – as she struggled, with two young children, to keep my father’s insurance-collection round going – whilst he was overseas fighting in Africa and Italy. At every visit, Joey would always manage to find something . . . an orange or some other wartime treat . . . “for the kiddies”.
And Dr Tannenbaum – our family g.p. – who was considered to be as near to a saint as was possible by many in the town. And the Cohen brothers, Mark and Stanley, of Macclesfield Travel Services and Holland & Barwood – always with a cheerful smile on their faces – happy to help out all of their customers.
Hopefully, this very poignant, small, yet incredibly important exhibition – put together by local historian and author Basil Jeuda – will ensure that visitors will appreciate just how much a relatively small group of hard-working and generous Jewish families have contributed – not just to our town – but to all our lives.