Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter Issue No 3 July 1999 page 2
My M’bro name was Babs Freeman. My parents were Hindy and Wolfy Freeman and my brother is Alan, who has already written to you. My mother and her siblings were born in M’bro and I was born at my grandparents’ home in Grange Road. One of my aunts told me that there is a record of early Jewish families in M’bro Reference Library.
I belonged to Habonim, where I was the only girl. I had to go to cheder every day after school and on Sunday mornings, where I was taught by a strict Rev Turtledove and then his not so strict daughter, Dinah. More attention was paid to the boys than the girls in those days!
I worked in the Citizens Advice Centre during the War and then came to Canada with my Canadian Air Force husband, Norman Shapiro. On our wedding day , 23 August 1944, Rabbi Miller said: "Before we begin the ceremony, I am happy to announce that we’ve just heard that the Allies are in the suburbs of Paris". That was the beginning of the end of the War.
Several years ago, on a visit to England, Betty (Simon) and Sol Levinson of Hartlepool drove us to the shul and took our photos on the steps, exactly where the Evening Gazette had taken them in 1944.
You really don’t know what memories you have unleashed in my head—M’bro stories galore! I must say M’bro had its share of characters—so many humorous events to remember. I came from a family with a great sense of humour, who saw the lighter side of most things—bombs and all.
Do you think other dwindling communities could possibly have the same pull and nostalgia that ex-Boro folk have? It seems we all share the same feelings. I feel sorry that our three daughters can never have the memories that I have. I tell them stories, but it’s not the same.
I want to thank you so much for all your efforts on our behalf. What a joy it was to read the letters in your last issue—I wish there had been dozens more. Beryl Shapiro Toronto, Canada
The article about the two doctors from Billingham was of special interest to me for the following reason.
Around 1980 my son, Jonathan Hyman, (who was born in Middlesbrough) was undergoing a course of treatment at Hadassah Ein Kerem to prevent his allergies. After one of the treatments, he left the clinic without waiting to be released and had a severe reaction on the bus on the way home. He got off the bus and someone brought him back to the hospital where Dr Medalia took care of him.
I went to Ein Kerem the next morning to thank Dr Medalia personally for his care of my son. I heard afterwards from a doctor friend that if he had not received adequate treatment the consequences could have been very serious. It was only when I read the newsletter that I learned that Dr Medalia had lived in Billingham.
Small world! Sheila Assan Jerusalem, Israel
I was very delighted to receive the Newsletter – reading about people brought back many memories. I am 94 ½ years old.
I lived in M’bro for 14 years from 1931, after Wolfe and I were married. Life was not easy in those days; there was no TV and we used to get together with friends and make our own entertainment. We really did have fun!
Rose Saville and I used to go to the High School gym in the evenings—I remember I could not get over the horse!
I remember with much love and affection my brother in law, Sam, and his son, Geoffrey, who not only preached Zionism, but came on aliya. Anne Hyman Southport, England
I was one of the 20 "Hostel girls"; I lived at 5 The Avenue from February 1939 up to the end of 1940, when I went to live and work in Leeds, to be near to my two brothers who were living in the boys’ hostel there. I was one of the three 16 year olds who worked as apprentices at a dressmaker, whose name was Miss Fraser.
Of the other girls, I can recall: Sarah and Bertha Rotblit; Inge Vogel; Ruth Heller; four Strom sisters, the eldest of whom was Minna.
I would like to contact any of the Middlesbrough hostel girls. I hope to be at the Kindertransport reunion in England this summer – maybe some of them will be there. Gina (Fischbein) Simon Haifa, Israel
[Ed note: Gina has kindly sent us photos of the hostel girls—they can be seen on our website]
I am Peter Niman, eldest son of Esther and the late Nathan (Nis) Niman. I was born in M’bro in December 1946. When I was a schoolboy I went regularly to the shul in Park Road South. I remember Sam Solomons, who taught us in cheder—if you misbehaved, you would get a clip across the ear!
My barmitzva was on Shabbat, January 1st 1960 (Parshat Mikets). After teaching me the sedra, Rev Kersh realised a week beforehand that he had been teaching me the wrong one. I had to learn a new sedra within a week!
The Newsletter is a marvellous achievement. I would like to thank you for the news of past friends from Mbro and look forward to many more issues.
Peter Niman Newcastle upon Tyne, England
The Editor reserves the right to edit letters as appropriate