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East End reads out praises for leading light of literature

PUBLISHED: 19:15 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 05 October 2010

Emmanuel litvinoff, Jewish East ENd Celebration Society honouring famous Yiddish author September 7, 2008

Emmanuel litvinoff, Jewish East ENd Celebration Society honouring famous Yiddish author September 7, 2008

Carmen Valino

THE Jewish community in London's East End has paid tribute to one of the best known and highly regarded figures in Anglo-Jewish literature. Emanuel Litvinoff, 93, was guest of honour at an open evening where his works were read by among others, actress Miriam Margolyes, playwright Bernard Kops and the poet Elaine Feinstein

Mike Brooke

THE Jewish community in London’s East End has paid tribute to one of the best known and highly regarded figures in Anglo-Jewish literature.

Emanuel Litvinoff, 93, was guest of honour at an open evening where his works were read by among others, actress Miriam Margolyes, playwright Bernard Kops and the poet Elaine Feinstein. It was organised at Stepney’s Nelson Street Synagogue by the Jewish East End Celebration Society to celebrate the republication of his memoirs about growing up in the East End in the 1920s, Journey Through a Small Planet. Emanual was born in Bethnal Green in 1915 in a tenement building in Cheshire Street, off Brick Lane. His other famous works include A Death Out of Season, a novel about the famous 1911 Siege of Sidney Street, Notes for a Survivor, an anthology of poems about the 1939-45 Holocaust and The Face of Terror, about the human rights abuses of Joseph Stalin.

Emanuel had been a member of the Communist Party as a youngster in the 1930s, but renounced it when he realized what was going on in Stalin’s Soviet Russia. Emanuel was the first person to denounce the anti-Semitism in the poems of TS Eliot and wrote a work on this subject, which was read in the presence of Eliot. He was also one of the first to bring to the attention of the world the persecution of Jews in Soviet Russia in the 1970s which led to the long-running Campaign for Soviet Jewry to get them out of the USSR.

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