Chapter 27 – The adbuction of Solomon Lever

by Jason Lever

Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:04:16 GMT

Enticement by bogus policemen

As reported on the front page of The Daily Express on 20 July 1959, ‘The telephone at AMHerst 5319 rang yesterday. The call lured a man to his death – the second London telephone murder in a week’.

Solomon Lever’s phone rang at just after one o’clock in the morning of Sunday, July 19 1959. The caller identified himself as a detective and told Solomon that a fire had broken out next to an office he was responsible for and that if he wanted to save documents and valuables he would have to hurry.

Solomon was acting general secretary of The Workers’ Circle Friendly Society and secretary of the Pietrokow Provident and Investment Society. Their offices at Circle House, No 13 Sylvester Path, were shared with the London Jewish Bakers Union. The building, behind the Hackney Empire, was described by the press as ‘a tall thin house... [that] used to be a day nursery... [and now was] full of little offices’.

The Workers’ Circle Friendly Society had been formed in 1910 as The Workers Circle Relief Society. Members paid a small weekly subscription and could obtain small loans. In 1959, it had 1,478 members. This was down from a peak of about 3,000, and £32,153 in assets (Jewish Chronicle, 24.07.59).

According to his caller, the chair factory next to Circle House was ablaze. A police car was on its way to his home at 49 Victoria Park, Hackney, to take him there (less than a mile away). Solomon was aware that the funds in the office safe were due to be distributed to club members taking their summer holidays.

Just seven minutes later, the door bell rang and a tall, dark man was anxious to whisk Solomon to his offices, brushing aside his wife, Annie’s, offer to come along too. She said later to the police that she had asked her husband if he had checked the “policeman’s” credentials, but he had said there was no time as he hurried out to the waiting car with a suitcase to move the money and papers.

According to the Jewish Chronicle (24.07.59), the bogus detectives said:

A police car would be called to take him there to remove any money to a place of safety. Mr Lever dressed and waited. A detective called and Mr Lever went to the waiting car. After binding and gagging him and leaving him in the car the thieves went to the office using Mr Lever’s keys to enter the building.

'They robbed the safe which contained envelopes made out to individual members of the loan club, and left the premises only a few minutes before the policeman on the beat came along the street.’

While they missed some other money in the safe, they still took £7,869 of club funds (which it transpired could have been much more but much of it had very recently been paid out) and also Solomon Lever.

That was the last time she saw him alive.

Hackney London-Jewish-Bakers-Union Workers-Circle

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Chapter 1 - Introducing Solomon Lever and his l...Chapter 2 - The Jewish East EndChapter 3 - A family history of Solomon LeverChapter 4 - A Jewish East End education for Sol...Chapter 5 - Joining East End cultural and commu...Chapter 6 - Solomon as a cabinet makerChapter 7 – From cabinet maker to trade union g...Chapter 8 – Rise of the London Jewish Bakers UnionChapter 9 – Dealing with the challenges of a de...Chapter 10 – Solomon’s journey to Jewish trade ...Chapter 11 – Interlude of anarchism’s appeal to...Chapter 12 – Solomon Lever finds his home in th...Chapter 13 – The Liberal and Conservative partiesChapter 14 – The Labour Party consolidates its ...Chapter 15 – The appeal of East End councils’ s...Chapter 16 – The rise and fall of communist sup...Chapter 17 – Surging Labourism after the warChapter 18 – The Labour Party’s support for Zio...Chapter 19 – Short-lived Labour-Zionist honeymoonChapter 20 – Solomon Lever’s 1947 broadcast spe...Chapter 21 – Solomon Lever’s 1948 speech from t...Chapter 22 – Solomon Lever’s 1954 speech from t...Chapter 23 – Solomon Lever’s final TUC speech i...Chapter 24 – His Worshipful The Mayor and Mayor...Chapter 25 – Family connections in the Mayor’s ...Chapter 26 – Important social issues raised wit...Chapter 27 – The adbuction of Solomon LeverChapter 28 – Discovery of Solomon’s bodyChapter 29 – InquestChapter 30 – The death of Solomon LeverChapter 31 – Solomon’s funeral and obituaryChapter 32 – The death knell of the London Jewi...Chapter 33 – An appraisalChapter 34 – Bibliography