Julius Klein

Voice of Hamp­shire Jewry who be­came the ‘fa­ther’ of the Portsmouth com­mu­nity

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - RICHARD COOPER

THE FOR­MER war­den of Portsmouth and South­sea He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion, Julius Klein, who has died in Lon­don aged 91, was a Holo­caust sur­vivor whose de­vo­tion to Ju­daism made him a lead­ing light within the Portsmouth com­mu­nity.

He was the son of Dus­sel­dorf’s muchloved and staunchly pa­tri­otic Rabbi Dr. Siegfried Klein and his wife Lilli (née Plotke). Rabbi Klein was awarded the Iron Cross for ser­vice at the front in the First World War, served as Field Rabbi and co-founded the League of Ger­man-Jewish Vet­er­ans. Nev­er­the­less on Kris tall nacht, Novem­ber 9,1938, Nazi troops forced their way into the fam­ily home, as­sault­ing his par­ents and van­dal­is­ing every­thing in their path, even throw­ing the pi­ano out of the win­dow. They were ar­rested but Julius and his mother were re­leased the next day. His fa­ther spent a fur­ther 12 days in cus­tody.

The mur­der and de­struc­tion of Kristall­nacht spurred Julius’s par­ents to send him and his el­der sis- ter Hanna to safety in Eng­land on the Kin­der­trans­port the fol­low­ing year. Julius was spon­sored by Arnold and Lena Levy, own­ers of the It­shide Rub­ber Com­pany of Peters­field. Lilli per­ished in Lodz ghetto in Poland and Rabbi Dr. Klein was mur­dered two years later in Auschwitz. Aged 14 in 1939 when he ar­rived, Julius be­gan work­ing in an ad­min­is­tra­tive ca­pac­ity at It­shide Rub­ber, where he spent his en­tire ca­reer. The com­pany was most fa­mous for Minib­rix, a rub­ber pre­de­ces­sor to Lego.His sis­ter Hanna mar­ried and set­tled in Cum­bria. On re­tire­ment Julius be­came the “fa­ther” of Portsmouth Syn­a­gogue, on the board of man­age­ment and as war­den. He of­ten led Shab­bat ser­vices. and was ac­tive in in­ter­faith de­vel­op­ment and re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion through lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions. He also put his con­sid­er­able in­tel­lec­tual and artis­tic gifts to good use, writ­ing and draw­ing.

In 1998, with his niece Mar­ion, he fi­nally vis­ited Düs­sel­dorf for the first time since 1939, where a street and a Jewish Youth Cen­tre had been named af­ter his fa­ther.

Julius never mar­ried and had no chil­dren. Hanna pre­de­ceased him and he is sur­vived by her daugh­ter Mar­ion.

Julius Klein: Born April 4, 1925. Died De­cem­ber 27, 2016

Dr Julius Klein: sur­vival in­stincts

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