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The Jewish Community of Oxford, UK

Oxford

A university city, Oxfordshire, England

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

The Oxford Jewish Congregation (OJC) is the umbrella organization for religious services in Oxford, and offers both Orthodox, egalitarian, Progressive, and alternative services. The services themselves take place at the Oxford Jewish Centre. The OJC also provides for the needs of any Jewish resident, student, or visitor in Oxford, regardless of denominational affiliation (or lack thereof).

HISTORY

Jews are first recorded in Oxford in 1141. Records indicate that two monarchs, King Stephen and Queen Matilda, both attempted to extort money from the community; one unfortunate member, Aaron ben Isaac, had his house burned down when he refused to pay. The Jewish community was located at in Oxford’s commercial center, and during the 12th century it had between 80 and 100 members.

Copin of Worcester granted the community a synagogue in 1228. Oxford’s Jewish community was also one of the few Jewish communities outside of London to have their own cemetery. The cemetery was consecrated around 1190, but confiscated in 1231, after which it was moved to a different location.

Most of Oxford’s Jews worked as traders, artisans, moneylenders, and university landlords; up to 10% of student housing was provided by Jewish landlords. Relations between the students and the landlords, however, were not good (unsurprisingly), culminating in student riots against them in 1244. Nonetheless, relations between Jews and Christians in Oxford tended to be good, with periodic outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence, particularly around Easter. Prominent members of the community during this period included David of Oxford (d.1244), who had a private library that included a number of important books.

In 1290 the Jews were expelled from England. The Jewish community of Oxford ceased to exist until the mid-18th century, when Jews began to resettle in the city; the community was officially organized in 1841.

Jews began to be admitted to the University of Oxford in 1854, and they began to make up most of Oxford’s Jewish community. Eventually, enough Jewish students were enrolled that a student society was established in 1904. A number of Jews also began teaching at the university. The philosopher Samuel Alexander (1859-1938) was appointed as a fellow of Lincoln College in 1882, making him the first Jew appointed as a college fellow at an English university. The mathematician James Joseph Sylvester was appointed as a professor of geometry in 1883.

Oxford’s Jewish community remained small during the 19th century, but it nonetheless developed a number of important institutions. A synagogue was established around 1850, followed by another in 1870 and a third in 1878.

During World War I (1914-1918) Oxford’s Jewish community grew as a number of Jews chose to live in the city during the war. During the interwar period, however, many of these arrivals returned to London, and the Jewish community consisted mainly of students. Eventually, with the Nazi rise to power in 1933, both the university and the Oxford Refugee Committee worked to bring German Jewish academics to Oxford; Albert Einstein was among those they helped to get out of Germany, and he lived in Oxford before continuing on to the United States. Additionally, with the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), Jewish evacuees from London also began arriving in Oxford, leading to a drastic increase of the city’s Jewish population; approximately 500 Jews arrived in Oxford during the war.

Once the war was over, however, Oxford’s Jewish population dramatically decreased. Nonetheless, those who remained established a number of social and cultural organizations; most notable among these was the university’s Chulent Society, which operated from 1955 until approximately 1985.

As it had so many times in the past. Oxford’s Jewish population rebounded, and the community once again began to grow substantially. During the ‘60s a number of Jews decided to settle in Oxford, while Jewish students and academics continued to be drawn to the university. In 1967 the Jewish population was approximately 400, with an additional 200 undergraduates.

In 1991 seven Oxford colleges were led by Jews, and Jewish students made up approximately 8% of the student body.
Place Type:
City
ID Number:
154014
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Jacqueline Du Pre (1945-1988) Cellist. Born in Oxford, England, she started to play the cello when she was five years old. After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she was admitted to Pablo Casals’ master classes. In 1961 she first appeared at Wigmore Hall, London, and in 1965, at Carnegie Hall in New York. She then embarked on an international career. In 1967 she married Daniel Barenboim in Jerusalem. With him she recorded works by Haydn, Dvorak, Schumann, Elgar and others. At the beginning of the 1970s she contracted multiple sclerosis and was forced to abandon her career. She died in London, England.

Cassirer, Bruno (1872-1941), publisher and gallery owner in Berlin, Germany, who had a considerable influence on the cultural life of the city, born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). He was the second child of Julius and Julcher Cassirer. Julius was a partner in a family-owned cable factory. Julius completed his final school examination in 1890 at the Leibniz-Gymnasium.

In 1898, together with his cousin Paul Cassirer, Bruno opened a gallery and bookshop at 35 Viktoriastrasse near Kemperplatz, Berlin. On 2 May 1898 the artists' association Berlin Secession was established with Paul and Bruno as secretaries. For three years they brought the newest waves from Belgian, English, French and Russian culture to the art and literature scene of Berlin. In 1901, Bruno and Paul divided the business, with Paul running the gallery and art dealership, whilst Bruno owned the publishing side. In 1903 Christian Morgenstern joined as literary editor and the journal "Das Theater" was founded under his direction.

In 1936 Jewish printers were removed from membership of the
Reichsschrifttumskammer (RSK) and the last book appeared from the Cassirer publishing house. In 1938 Bruno decided to emigrate to Oxford, England, where Bruno founded a new publishing house.

After the death of Bruno Cassirer, his son-in law Dr. George Hill (born Guenther Hell) continued the publishing business until he died in 1995.
Berlin, Isaiah (1909-1997), British social and political philosopher, one of the most brilliant thinkers of the 20th century, born in Riga, Latvia (then part of the Russian Empire). Berlin's work on liberal theory and on pluralism has had a great influence on social thought. Born the son of a wealthy timber company owner, he was a direct descendant of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Hasidism.

The family lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, but left in 1920 after feeling the oppression of Bolshevism and anti-Semitism. They came to Britain in 1921. Berlin was educated at St Paul's School in London, then at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he studied classics. He then took another degree, this time at Oxford, in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He was appointed a tutor in philosophy at New College, Oxford, and in 1932 at the age of 23, was elected to a prize fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford. He was the first Jewish fellow at All Souls College. Berlin was to remain at Oxford for the rest of his life, apart from a period working for British Information Services in New York, USA, from 1940 to 1942, and for the British embassies in Washington, DC, and Moscow from then until 1946.

Berlin was fluent in Russian and English, spoke French, German and Italian, and knew Latin and Ancient Greek. From 1957 to 1967, he was Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford and in 1966 he was elected to be the first president of the newly founded Wolfson College in Oxford. He was knighted in 1957, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1971. He was President of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978. He also received the 1979 Jerusalem Prize for his writings on individual freedom. The annual Isaiah Berlin Lectures are held at the Hampstead Synagogue and both Wolfson College and the British Academy each summer.

The London based "Independent" newspaper once wrote that "Isaiah Berlin was often described, especially in his old age, by means of superlatives: the world's greatest talker, the century's most inspired reader, one of the finest minds of our time ... there is no doubt that he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top end of the range of human potential"

In 1956, Berlin married Aline Halban, née de Gunzbourg, who was from an exiled half Russian-aristocratic and half ennobled-Jewish banking and petroleum family He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1959.

His work was characterized by a very liberal attitude to social and political questions. In his “Karl Marx”, published in 1939, he examines Marxism in the context of the times when it was written. In the “August Conte Memorial Lectures” he opposed the notion that events are inevitable and therefore predictable. His essay "Two Concepts of Liberty", delivered in 1958 as his inaugural lecture as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford argued for a nuanced and subtle understanding of political terminology, where what was superficially understood as a single concept could mask a plurality of different uses and therefore meanings. He distinguished between thinkers who tried to find liberty within a framework of restraints while recognizing the diversity of human needs and those who are dogmatic and try to “force men to be free`' and so end up by enslaving them.

For Berlin, values are creations of mankind, rather than products of nature waiting to be discovered. He argued that the nature of mankind is such that certain values – for example, the importance of individual liberty – will hold true across cultures, and this is what he meant when he called his position "objective pluralism". When values clash, it may not be that one is more important than the other. Keeping a promise may conflict with the pursuit of truth; liberty may clash with social justice. Moral conflicts are "an intrinsic, irremovable element in human life". "These collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we are." For Berlin, this incommensurate clashing of values within, no less than between, individuals, constitutes the tragedy of human life.

Berlin had many close ties to Zionism and Israel having close friendships with Chaim Weizmann and other Zionist leaders. He was a governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.






Berlin's essay "Historical Inevitability" (1954) focused on a controversy in the philosophy of history. Berlin is also well known for his writings on Russian intellectual history, most of which are collected in Russian Thinkers (1978; 2nd ed. 2008),
Wellesz, Egon Joseph , musicologist and composer. Born in Vienna, Austria, from 1895-1908 he studied at Vienna University where he took private lessons from Arnold Schoenberg (1905-1906), as one of his first students. In 1928 he began to teach at Vienna University but in 1938, with the Nazi annexation of Austria, he was forced to leave despite his early conversion to Catholicism. He settled in England and became professor of Byzantine music at Oxford. He was considered one of the great authorities on Byzantine church music as well as an expert on Baroque opera and an important theoretician on modern music. He was Schoenberg’s first biographer and one of the advocates of the twelve-tone system.
His compositions include operas, ballet music, chamber music, symphonies, works for choir, and a piano concerto. His books include The Symphonies of Gustav Mahler (1940), Eastern Elements in Western Chants (1947), A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (1949), Essays on Opera (1950), Early Christian Music: Music of the Eastern Churches (1957), The Origins of Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone System (1958). He died in Oxford, England.
Jurist

Born in New York, he served in the US army in World War I. From 1919 he taught law at Cambridge University, editing the Cambridge Law Journal from 1921 to 1925. In 1931 he was appointed professor of jurisprudence at Oxford. Goodhart won a reputation as an outstanding jurist and served on several government commissions. In 1951 he was appointed master of University College, Oxford, the first Jew to become master of an Oxford college. He was chairman of the International Law Association and was awarded a knighthood (which remained honorary because of his American citizenship). Goodhart wrote a number of standard legal works.
Gilbert, Martin (1936-2015), historian and author of some 80 books, born in London, England. During WW 2 he was evacuated to Canada as part of the British efforts to safeguard children. After the war he attended Highgate School, and then completed two years of National Service in the Intelligence Corps before going on to study at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating in 1960 with a first-class BA in modern history. After two years of postgraduate work, he was approached by Randolph Churchill for help in writing a biography of his father, Sir Winston Churchill. Finally appointed Churchill's official biographer Gilbert spent twenty years on the six narrative volumes, releasing a number of other books throughout the time.

In the 1960s, Gilbert compiled some of the first historical atlases. His major works include a definitive single-volume "History of The Holocaust", as well as single-volume histories of The First World War and The Second World War. He has also written a notable three-volume series called "A History of the Twentieth Century".

Since 2002, he has been a Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College, Michigan, USA, and between 2006 and 2007 he was a professor in the history department at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. In October 2008, he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Churchill College Oxford. He continues to lecture around the world on Churchill and Jewish history. Gilbert was appointed in June 2009 as a member of the British government’s inquiry into the Iraq War (headed by Sir John Chilcot). Gilbert's most recent major work is “In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands".

In 1995 Gilbert was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Isaac Berenblum (1903-2000), pathologist and biochemist, born in Bialystok, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) and brought to England in 1914. From 1920 he studied at the Universty of Leeds, where he gained his master's degree in 1936 in physiology and biochemistry. Berenblum developed a keen interest in cancer research. From 1936 to 1948 he was a member of the School of Pathology at Oxford and was in charge of the Oxford Research Centre of the British Empire Cancer Campaign.

At this time he developed the theory of the two-stage mechanism for the production of tumors. He discovered that in addition to the chemical which causes cancer, another chemical is needed for the promotion of a tumor. Between 1948 and 1950 he further developed this theory at the National Cancer Institute at Bethesda, MD, in the USA. In 1950 Berenblum immigrated to Israel where he became head of the department of experimental biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot as the Jack Cotton of Cancer Research. There he set up the department of experimental biology and developed an internationally respected school of cell biologists and cancer researchers. At the same time he was visiting Professor of Oncology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1966 he was visiting professor at the University of Texas. In 1971 the Weizmann Institute appointed him Professor Emeritus.

Berenblum received many awards for his work. From 1952 to 1959 he was a Member of the Israel Research Council, in 1954-66 he was Member of the Cancer Research Commission of the International Union Against Cancer, from 1955-1975 Chairman of the Israel Cancer Association, in 1959 he was a Founding Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences. He was elected a Honorary Life Member of the New York Academy of Sciences and Humanities and in 1961 was Charter Member of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was chairman of the Israel Society for the Fight Against Cancer.

Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945), philosopher, born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland). He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Berlin. After working for many years as a Privatdozent at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, he was elected in 1919 to the philosophy chair at the newly-founded University of Hamburg, where he lectured until 1933, when as a Jew he was forced to leave Germany.

He taught for two years in Oxford, England, before becoming a professor at Gothenburg University in Sweden. When Cassirer considered Sweden too unsafe, he went to the USA and in 1941 he became a visiting professor at Yale University, before moving to Columbia University in New York City, where he lectured from 1943 until his death in 1945. Trained within the Neo-Kantian Marburg School, he tried to supply an idealistic philosophy of science, but he later developed a theory of symbolism, and used it to expand phenomenology of knowledge into a more general philosophy of culture. He is one of the leading 20th century advocates of philosophical idealism.

Ernst Cassirer occupies a unique place in twentieth-century philosophy. His work pays equal attention to the philosophy of mathematics and natural science and to aesthetics, the philosophy of history, and other issues in the “cultural sciences”. More than any other German philosopher since Kant, Cassirer thus aimed to devote equal philosophical attention both to the mathematical and natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and also to the more humanistic disciplines (Geisteswissenschaften). In this way, Cassirer played a fundamental mediating role between C. P. Snow's famous “two cultures”.

Mihaly Michael Polanyi (Pollacsek)(1891-1976), scientist, born in Budapest, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied at the technical schools of Budapest and Karlsruhe, Germany, and became a lecturer (Privatdozent) at the technical school of Berlin in 1923.

In 1929 he was made a life member of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut fuer physikalische Chemie, but in 1933 he lost this position, partly as a result of his protest against the introduction of the racial question in the evaluation of scientific achievement. In the same year he went to England where he became professor of physical chemistry at Victoria University, Manchester, and later at Oxford. Polanyi also made a diagrammatic film, "Money and Unemployment" (1939).

In addition to a number of articles on plasticity, crystal structure, absorption and chemical reaction, he published "Atomic Reactions" (1932); "USSR Economics" (1935). In the latter book as well as in "The Contempt of Freedom" (1940) he touched upon questions outside his proper field of research. In his "A magyar forradalom uzenete" ("The Message of the Hungarian Revolution") he raised his voice for freeing from jail freedom fighters of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

Victor Gollancz (1893–1967), publisher, socialist, and humanitarian, born in London, England, son of a wholesale jeweller and nephew of Rabbi Professor Sir Hermann Gollancz and Professor Sir Israel Gollancz.

Gollancz rejected his family's religious orthodoxy. After graduating from Oxford University, Gollancz was commissioned into the Northumberland Fusiliers in October 1915, although he did not see active service. In 1917 he became involved in the Reconstruction Committee, an organisation that made plans for post-World War I Britain.

He was hired to work in a publishing business. Starting with magazines, Gollancz then brought out a series of art books, after which he started recruiting novelists. Gollancz formed his own publishing company in 1927, publishing works by writers such as George Orwell. Gollancz was one of the founders of the Left Book Club whose aim was to stop Nazism and prevent the outbreak of war. When he published "The Red Army Moves" by Geoffrey Cox on the Winter War in 1941, he omitted criticisms of the USSR.

In addition to his successful publishing business, Gollancz was a prolific writer on a variety of subjects. His 1943 pamphlet "Let My People Go", which called for the Allied powers to rescue Jews under threat of extermination in occupied Europe, reached a mass audience in 1943, following widespread coverage in the British media in December 1942 of the Nazi's extermination policy. A subsequent pamphlet on the same subject, published by Gollancz two years later, did not succeed. By then the British media had almost entirely ceased writing of the Nazi attempt to exterminate European Jewry, after it had become clear that the western powers were unwilling to rescue Jews in occupied Europe on the grounds that it would divert precious resources from the war effort.

From 1945 he opposed Britain's pro-Arab policy in Palestine, but then proceeded to head an organization devoted to relief work for the Arabs during Israel's War of Independence. He advocated reconciliation between Jews and Germans and between Arabs and Jews. From 1952 to 1964 he was a member of the board of governors of the Hebrew University.

In 1945 Gollancz turned his attention to crimes against the defeated Germans. He started a campaign for the humane treatment of German civilians and organised an airlift to provide Germany and other war torn European countries with books, food and clothing from a Britain still subject to rationing. In his book, "Our Threatened Values" (London, 1946), Gollancz described the conditions Sudeten German prisoners faced in a Czech prison camp. In Britain he also worked on a campaign to abolish capital punishment in the 1950s. In February 1951 Victor Gollancz wrote a letter to "The Guardian" asking people to join an international struggle against poverty. This directly led to the founding of the international anti-poverty charity "War on Want". In 1960, he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, being the first British person to receive this award. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965.

In 1961 he wrote a book expressing his opposition to the Trial of Adolf Eichmann.

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The Jewish Community of Oxford, UK
Oxford

A university city, Oxfordshire, England

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

The Oxford Jewish Congregation (OJC) is the umbrella organization for religious services in Oxford, and offers both Orthodox, egalitarian, Progressive, and alternative services. The services themselves take place at the Oxford Jewish Centre. The OJC also provides for the needs of any Jewish resident, student, or visitor in Oxford, regardless of denominational affiliation (or lack thereof).

HISTORY

Jews are first recorded in Oxford in 1141. Records indicate that two monarchs, King Stephen and Queen Matilda, both attempted to extort money from the community; one unfortunate member, Aaron ben Isaac, had his house burned down when he refused to pay. The Jewish community was located at in Oxford’s commercial center, and during the 12th century it had between 80 and 100 members.

Copin of Worcester granted the community a synagogue in 1228. Oxford’s Jewish community was also one of the few Jewish communities outside of London to have their own cemetery. The cemetery was consecrated around 1190, but confiscated in 1231, after which it was moved to a different location.

Most of Oxford’s Jews worked as traders, artisans, moneylenders, and university landlords; up to 10% of student housing was provided by Jewish landlords. Relations between the students and the landlords, however, were not good (unsurprisingly), culminating in student riots against them in 1244. Nonetheless, relations between Jews and Christians in Oxford tended to be good, with periodic outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence, particularly around Easter. Prominent members of the community during this period included David of Oxford (d.1244), who had a private library that included a number of important books.

In 1290 the Jews were expelled from England. The Jewish community of Oxford ceased to exist until the mid-18th century, when Jews began to resettle in the city; the community was officially organized in 1841.

Jews began to be admitted to the University of Oxford in 1854, and they began to make up most of Oxford’s Jewish community. Eventually, enough Jewish students were enrolled that a student society was established in 1904. A number of Jews also began teaching at the university. The philosopher Samuel Alexander (1859-1938) was appointed as a fellow of Lincoln College in 1882, making him the first Jew appointed as a college fellow at an English university. The mathematician James Joseph Sylvester was appointed as a professor of geometry in 1883.

Oxford’s Jewish community remained small during the 19th century, but it nonetheless developed a number of important institutions. A synagogue was established around 1850, followed by another in 1870 and a third in 1878.

During World War I (1914-1918) Oxford’s Jewish community grew as a number of Jews chose to live in the city during the war. During the interwar period, however, many of these arrivals returned to London, and the Jewish community consisted mainly of students. Eventually, with the Nazi rise to power in 1933, both the university and the Oxford Refugee Committee worked to bring German Jewish academics to Oxford; Albert Einstein was among those they helped to get out of Germany, and he lived in Oxford before continuing on to the United States. Additionally, with the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945), Jewish evacuees from London also began arriving in Oxford, leading to a drastic increase of the city’s Jewish population; approximately 500 Jews arrived in Oxford during the war.

Once the war was over, however, Oxford’s Jewish population dramatically decreased. Nonetheless, those who remained established a number of social and cultural organizations; most notable among these was the university’s Chulent Society, which operated from 1955 until approximately 1985.

As it had so many times in the past. Oxford’s Jewish population rebounded, and the community once again began to grow substantially. During the ‘60s a number of Jews decided to settle in Oxford, while Jewish students and academics continued to be drawn to the university. In 1967 the Jewish population was approximately 400, with an additional 200 undergraduates.

In 1991 seven Oxford colleges were led by Jews, and Jewish students made up approximately 8% of the student body.
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Jacqueline Du Pre

Jacqueline Du Pre (1945-1988) Cellist. Born in Oxford, England, she started to play the cello when she was five years old. After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she was admitted to Pablo Casals’ master classes. In 1961 she first appeared at Wigmore Hall, London, and in 1965, at Carnegie Hall in New York. She then embarked on an international career. In 1967 she married Daniel Barenboim in Jerusalem. With him she recorded works by Haydn, Dvorak, Schumann, Elgar and others. At the beginning of the 1970s she contracted multiple sclerosis and was forced to abandon her career. She died in London, England.

Cassirer, Bruno
Cassirer, Bruno (1872-1941), publisher and gallery owner in Berlin, Germany, who had a considerable influence on the cultural life of the city, born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). He was the second child of Julius and Julcher Cassirer. Julius was a partner in a family-owned cable factory. Julius completed his final school examination in 1890 at the Leibniz-Gymnasium.

In 1898, together with his cousin Paul Cassirer, Bruno opened a gallery and bookshop at 35 Viktoriastrasse near Kemperplatz, Berlin. On 2 May 1898 the artists' association Berlin Secession was established with Paul and Bruno as secretaries. For three years they brought the newest waves from Belgian, English, French and Russian culture to the art and literature scene of Berlin. In 1901, Bruno and Paul divided the business, with Paul running the gallery and art dealership, whilst Bruno owned the publishing side. In 1903 Christian Morgenstern joined as literary editor and the journal "Das Theater" was founded under his direction.

In 1936 Jewish printers were removed from membership of the
Reichsschrifttumskammer (RSK) and the last book appeared from the Cassirer publishing house. In 1938 Bruno decided to emigrate to Oxford, England, where Bruno founded a new publishing house.

After the death of Bruno Cassirer, his son-in law Dr. George Hill (born Guenther Hell) continued the publishing business until he died in 1995.
Berlin, Isaiah
Berlin, Isaiah (1909-1997), British social and political philosopher, one of the most brilliant thinkers of the 20th century, born in Riga, Latvia (then part of the Russian Empire). Berlin's work on liberal theory and on pluralism has had a great influence on social thought. Born the son of a wealthy timber company owner, he was a direct descendant of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Hasidism.

The family lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, but left in 1920 after feeling the oppression of Bolshevism and anti-Semitism. They came to Britain in 1921. Berlin was educated at St Paul's School in London, then at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he studied classics. He then took another degree, this time at Oxford, in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He was appointed a tutor in philosophy at New College, Oxford, and in 1932 at the age of 23, was elected to a prize fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford. He was the first Jewish fellow at All Souls College. Berlin was to remain at Oxford for the rest of his life, apart from a period working for British Information Services in New York, USA, from 1940 to 1942, and for the British embassies in Washington, DC, and Moscow from then until 1946.

Berlin was fluent in Russian and English, spoke French, German and Italian, and knew Latin and Ancient Greek. From 1957 to 1967, he was Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford and in 1966 he was elected to be the first president of the newly founded Wolfson College in Oxford. He was knighted in 1957, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1971. He was President of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978. He also received the 1979 Jerusalem Prize for his writings on individual freedom. The annual Isaiah Berlin Lectures are held at the Hampstead Synagogue and both Wolfson College and the British Academy each summer.

The London based "Independent" newspaper once wrote that "Isaiah Berlin was often described, especially in his old age, by means of superlatives: the world's greatest talker, the century's most inspired reader, one of the finest minds of our time ... there is no doubt that he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top end of the range of human potential"

In 1956, Berlin married Aline Halban, née de Gunzbourg, who was from an exiled half Russian-aristocratic and half ennobled-Jewish banking and petroleum family He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1959.

His work was characterized by a very liberal attitude to social and political questions. In his “Karl Marx”, published in 1939, he examines Marxism in the context of the times when it was written. In the “August Conte Memorial Lectures” he opposed the notion that events are inevitable and therefore predictable. His essay "Two Concepts of Liberty", delivered in 1958 as his inaugural lecture as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford argued for a nuanced and subtle understanding of political terminology, where what was superficially understood as a single concept could mask a plurality of different uses and therefore meanings. He distinguished between thinkers who tried to find liberty within a framework of restraints while recognizing the diversity of human needs and those who are dogmatic and try to “force men to be free`' and so end up by enslaving them.

For Berlin, values are creations of mankind, rather than products of nature waiting to be discovered. He argued that the nature of mankind is such that certain values – for example, the importance of individual liberty – will hold true across cultures, and this is what he meant when he called his position "objective pluralism". When values clash, it may not be that one is more important than the other. Keeping a promise may conflict with the pursuit of truth; liberty may clash with social justice. Moral conflicts are "an intrinsic, irremovable element in human life". "These collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we are." For Berlin, this incommensurate clashing of values within, no less than between, individuals, constitutes the tragedy of human life.

Berlin had many close ties to Zionism and Israel having close friendships with Chaim Weizmann and other Zionist leaders. He was a governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.






Berlin's essay "Historical Inevitability" (1954) focused on a controversy in the philosophy of history. Berlin is also well known for his writings on Russian intellectual history, most of which are collected in Russian Thinkers (1978; 2nd ed. 2008),
Wellesz, Egon Joseph
Wellesz, Egon Joseph , musicologist and composer. Born in Vienna, Austria, from 1895-1908 he studied at Vienna University where he took private lessons from Arnold Schoenberg (1905-1906), as one of his first students. In 1928 he began to teach at Vienna University but in 1938, with the Nazi annexation of Austria, he was forced to leave despite his early conversion to Catholicism. He settled in England and became professor of Byzantine music at Oxford. He was considered one of the great authorities on Byzantine church music as well as an expert on Baroque opera and an important theoretician on modern music. He was Schoenberg’s first biographer and one of the advocates of the twelve-tone system.
His compositions include operas, ballet music, chamber music, symphonies, works for choir, and a piano concerto. His books include The Symphonies of Gustav Mahler (1940), Eastern Elements in Western Chants (1947), A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography (1949), Essays on Opera (1950), Early Christian Music: Music of the Eastern Churches (1957), The Origins of Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone System (1958). He died in Oxford, England.
Goodhart Lehman, Arthur
Jurist

Born in New York, he served in the US army in World War I. From 1919 he taught law at Cambridge University, editing the Cambridge Law Journal from 1921 to 1925. In 1931 he was appointed professor of jurisprudence at Oxford. Goodhart won a reputation as an outstanding jurist and served on several government commissions. In 1951 he was appointed master of University College, Oxford, the first Jew to become master of an Oxford college. He was chairman of the International Law Association and was awarded a knighthood (which remained honorary because of his American citizenship). Goodhart wrote a number of standard legal works.
Gilbert, Martin
Gilbert, Martin (1936-2015), historian and author of some 80 books, born in London, England. During WW 2 he was evacuated to Canada as part of the British efforts to safeguard children. After the war he attended Highgate School, and then completed two years of National Service in the Intelligence Corps before going on to study at Magdalen College, Oxford, graduating in 1960 with a first-class BA in modern history. After two years of postgraduate work, he was approached by Randolph Churchill for help in writing a biography of his father, Sir Winston Churchill. Finally appointed Churchill's official biographer Gilbert spent twenty years on the six narrative volumes, releasing a number of other books throughout the time.

In the 1960s, Gilbert compiled some of the first historical atlases. His major works include a definitive single-volume "History of The Holocaust", as well as single-volume histories of The First World War and The Second World War. He has also written a notable three-volume series called "A History of the Twentieth Century".

Since 2002, he has been a Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College, Michigan, USA, and between 2006 and 2007 he was a professor in the history department at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. In October 2008, he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Churchill College Oxford. He continues to lecture around the world on Churchill and Jewish history. Gilbert was appointed in June 2009 as a member of the British government’s inquiry into the Iraq War (headed by Sir John Chilcot). Gilbert's most recent major work is “In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands".

In 1995 Gilbert was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Isaac Berenblum

Isaac Berenblum (1903-2000), pathologist and biochemist, born in Bialystok, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) and brought to England in 1914. From 1920 he studied at the Universty of Leeds, where he gained his master's degree in 1936 in physiology and biochemistry. Berenblum developed a keen interest in cancer research. From 1936 to 1948 he was a member of the School of Pathology at Oxford and was in charge of the Oxford Research Centre of the British Empire Cancer Campaign.

At this time he developed the theory of the two-stage mechanism for the production of tumors. He discovered that in addition to the chemical which causes cancer, another chemical is needed for the promotion of a tumor. Between 1948 and 1950 he further developed this theory at the National Cancer Institute at Bethesda, MD, in the USA. In 1950 Berenblum immigrated to Israel where he became head of the department of experimental biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot as the Jack Cotton of Cancer Research. There he set up the department of experimental biology and developed an internationally respected school of cell biologists and cancer researchers. At the same time he was visiting Professor of Oncology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1966 he was visiting professor at the University of Texas. In 1971 the Weizmann Institute appointed him Professor Emeritus.

Berenblum received many awards for his work. From 1952 to 1959 he was a Member of the Israel Research Council, in 1954-66 he was Member of the Cancer Research Commission of the International Union Against Cancer, from 1955-1975 Chairman of the Israel Cancer Association, in 1959 he was a Founding Member of the Israel Academy of Sciences. He was elected a Honorary Life Member of the New York Academy of Sciences and Humanities and in 1961 was Charter Member of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was chairman of the Israel Society for the Fight Against Cancer.

Ernst Cassirer

Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945), philosopher, born in Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland). He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Berlin. After working for many years as a Privatdozent at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, he was elected in 1919 to the philosophy chair at the newly-founded University of Hamburg, where he lectured until 1933, when as a Jew he was forced to leave Germany.

He taught for two years in Oxford, England, before becoming a professor at Gothenburg University in Sweden. When Cassirer considered Sweden too unsafe, he went to the USA and in 1941 he became a visiting professor at Yale University, before moving to Columbia University in New York City, where he lectured from 1943 until his death in 1945. Trained within the Neo-Kantian Marburg School, he tried to supply an idealistic philosophy of science, but he later developed a theory of symbolism, and used it to expand phenomenology of knowledge into a more general philosophy of culture. He is one of the leading 20th century advocates of philosophical idealism.

Ernst Cassirer occupies a unique place in twentieth-century philosophy. His work pays equal attention to the philosophy of mathematics and natural science and to aesthetics, the philosophy of history, and other issues in the “cultural sciences”. More than any other German philosopher since Kant, Cassirer thus aimed to devote equal philosophical attention both to the mathematical and natural sciences (Naturwissenschaften) and also to the more humanistic disciplines (Geisteswissenschaften). In this way, Cassirer played a fundamental mediating role between C. P. Snow's famous “two cultures”.

Mihaly Michael Polanyi

Mihaly Michael Polanyi (Pollacsek)(1891-1976), scientist, born in Budapest, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied at the technical schools of Budapest and Karlsruhe, Germany, and became a lecturer (Privatdozent) at the technical school of Berlin in 1923.

In 1929 he was made a life member of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut fuer physikalische Chemie, but in 1933 he lost this position, partly as a result of his protest against the introduction of the racial question in the evaluation of scientific achievement. In the same year he went to England where he became professor of physical chemistry at Victoria University, Manchester, and later at Oxford. Polanyi also made a diagrammatic film, "Money and Unemployment" (1939).

In addition to a number of articles on plasticity, crystal structure, absorption and chemical reaction, he published "Atomic Reactions" (1932); "USSR Economics" (1935). In the latter book as well as in "The Contempt of Freedom" (1940) he touched upon questions outside his proper field of research. In his "A magyar forradalom uzenete" ("The Message of the Hungarian Revolution") he raised his voice for freeing from jail freedom fighters of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

Victor Gollancz

Victor Gollancz (1893–1967), publisher, socialist, and humanitarian, born in London, England, son of a wholesale jeweller and nephew of Rabbi Professor Sir Hermann Gollancz and Professor Sir Israel Gollancz.

Gollancz rejected his family's religious orthodoxy. After graduating from Oxford University, Gollancz was commissioned into the Northumberland Fusiliers in October 1915, although he did not see active service. In 1917 he became involved in the Reconstruction Committee, an organisation that made plans for post-World War I Britain.

He was hired to work in a publishing business. Starting with magazines, Gollancz then brought out a series of art books, after which he started recruiting novelists. Gollancz formed his own publishing company in 1927, publishing works by writers such as George Orwell. Gollancz was one of the founders of the Left Book Club whose aim was to stop Nazism and prevent the outbreak of war. When he published "The Red Army Moves" by Geoffrey Cox on the Winter War in 1941, he omitted criticisms of the USSR.

In addition to his successful publishing business, Gollancz was a prolific writer on a variety of subjects. His 1943 pamphlet "Let My People Go", which called for the Allied powers to rescue Jews under threat of extermination in occupied Europe, reached a mass audience in 1943, following widespread coverage in the British media in December 1942 of the Nazi's extermination policy. A subsequent pamphlet on the same subject, published by Gollancz two years later, did not succeed. By then the British media had almost entirely ceased writing of the Nazi attempt to exterminate European Jewry, after it had become clear that the western powers were unwilling to rescue Jews in occupied Europe on the grounds that it would divert precious resources from the war effort.

From 1945 he opposed Britain's pro-Arab policy in Palestine, but then proceeded to head an organization devoted to relief work for the Arabs during Israel's War of Independence. He advocated reconciliation between Jews and Germans and between Arabs and Jews. From 1952 to 1964 he was a member of the board of governors of the Hebrew University.

In 1945 Gollancz turned his attention to crimes against the defeated Germans. He started a campaign for the humane treatment of German civilians and organised an airlift to provide Germany and other war torn European countries with books, food and clothing from a Britain still subject to rationing. In his book, "Our Threatened Values" (London, 1946), Gollancz described the conditions Sudeten German prisoners faced in a Czech prison camp. In Britain he also worked on a campaign to abolish capital punishment in the 1950s. In February 1951 Victor Gollancz wrote a letter to "The Guardian" asking people to join an international struggle against poverty. This directly led to the founding of the international anti-poverty charity "War on Want". In 1960, he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, being the first British person to receive this award. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965.

In 1961 he wrote a book expressing his opposition to the Trial of Adolf Eichmann.