Doctor fled Austria to make town his home
As part of an exhibition which celebrates Macclesfield’s Jewish history, curator Basil Jeuda shares some of his favourite stories.
DR Max and Margarete Tannenbaum were married in Graz Synagogue, Austria, in June 1937 and this is their wedding photo.
They were a conventional middle-class family, talented amateur musicians, and were traditionally Jewish observant.
After the annexation of Austria by the Germans in April 1938, and in the face of violent and racist attacks on the Jews, leading to the destruction of Synagogues and Jewish properties and books, the Tannenbaums had no alternative but to leave Austria.
They were sponsored by relatives already in this country, and arrived at the port of Harwich on 31st March 1939 with baby Varda. Their visas restricted Max and Margarete from doing anything other than domes- tic work. Under the terms of Varda’s passport, she was permitted to enter the UK on the condition she ‘did not enter employment’. Max was interned on the Isle of Wight and had his request to practice as a Doctor turned down by the Home Office.
In 1941, he was appointed as a House Surgeon in Kent, and in September 1942 he joined the medical practice of Drs Gillies and Mark on Park Lane in Macclesfield where he stayed until his untimely death in 1964. The family settled down well in the town and they lived at Mount Pleasant, Upton; he later became the club doctor and a director of Macclesfield Town Football Club. The Express, reporting in an obituary, said that “he will be long remembered by thousands of ordinary folk as a doctor and as a friend of the family” – and so he is to this day.
The exhibition‘Celebrating Jewish Life, Art and Enterprise in Macclesfield During World War Two’ - commemorates the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Macclesfield Synagogue at 62 Chestergate, now Charles Roe House, where the exhibition will be held. It will run from Sunday March 23, to May 2, Wednesdays to Sundays, 11am to 4pm, with an invitation only preview on March 20. ●● BASIL would like to speak to anyone who has memories which could be used in the exhibition. He is particularly keen to speak to Zelda Davis, who was married to Johnny Davis, who ran a factory in the 1940s. Call 01625 426740.