Chapter 30 – The death of Solomon Lever

by Jason Lever

Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:08:30 GMT

Family and public reaction

In the words of his aunt, Esther Lash (nee Levy), in an unpublished memoir she wrote in 1962 in Australia:

He was only sixty-five years of age, and had planned to go to Canada to visit his daughter, Lily [his other daughter, Isabel, was also living in Canada], and grandchildren. His daughter had married a Canadian officer in London during the war, but poor Solly Lever never lived to see them. His wife, as a widow, had a nervous breakdown, poor Annie Lever. This news gave us all a terrible shock, as he was a good man’ (ref: Lash)

In the national and local press reports, he was referred to as ‘a friendly little man born in Poland’ and ‘known to Jews in London’s East End as “Uncle Sol”’. A member of the friendly society was quoted as saying ‘it would be difficult to replace such a lovable and generous man’.

A famous reporter, George Gale (later editor of The Spectator) described Solomon Lever as ‘a man whom the limelight caught twice’ on page 4 of the Daily Express (ref: Hackney Archives).

Writing on the day of his death in the Daily Express, he was referring back to Solomon’s speech in 1954 at the TUC described in an earlier section. Mr Gale remembered the occasion well, when the issue of German rearmament was ‘convulsing the Labour Party even more than the hydrogen bomb does today [in 1959]’. ‘A small, grey man climbed to the rostrum of the Trades Union Congress and made a speech’, a simple speech and one spoken very quietly. He observed that ‘if there were any votes not yet committed but were ready that day to be swayed it was Solomon Lever who swayed them’.

George Gale concluded by saying that was ‘just one more death, one more act of lunacy – or panic, or greed. This time it was a good man, a quiet man, a man whose life was given to service’.

TUC Esther Annie-Lever Isabel German-rearmament

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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