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This item consists of three letters exchanged between Trude Owen and Manor House Society (Centre for Judaism), written between 17 October 1983 and 14 March 1984. The subject of the correspondence is an exhibition of Jewish Ceremonial Art, organised by the Society, in which Trude was eager to participate.

1) Letter from Manor House Society to Trude Owen, dated 17 October 1983.

Kathryn, the Society's Exhibition Organiser, first wrote to Trude after hearing about her embroidered Torah mantles from Rabbi Bayfield. She wanted to see Trude's work and in this letter, she ask for some photographs of it. She finishes the letter by expressing her wish to put on an exhibition of Jewish Ceremonial Art.

2) Response from Trude Owen, dated 19 October 1983.

Trude was enthusiastic at the prospect of the exhibition. In this letter she offers more details about her life and work and describes what commissions she finds the most enjoyable. Trude mentions enjoying embroidering letters onto works to make them more personal for the buyers: she describes 'playing around' with the Hebrew and English letters.

Trude's charitable nature should not be overlooked. At the 'Jumberama' bazaar £300 worth of her work was sold, all of which was sent to charities. Furthermore, whenever she received a commission, she would ask the recipient of a work to suggest a charity for all of the proceeds to be donated to.

3) Letter from Manor House Society to Trude Owen, dated 14 March 1984.

This letter refers to the selection of the items, made by Trude, that would be displayed at the exhibition.

Trude Owen (1926-2003) was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia to observant Jewish parents. Having heard many of his speeches on the radio, Trude's father Hans anticipated danger from Adolf Hitler in 1938 and began to plan a move of his whole family to south Wales where he had the opportunity to set up a factory due to the South Wales Development Agency.

While twelve-year old Trude and her older sister fifteen-year old Ilse were able to take the trip from Nazi Germany to Britain in early 1939, their mother Hilda was almost left behind in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Hans had to claim that one of their daughters was seriously ill to convince the German authorities to let her leave for the United Kingdom.

Trude first discovered her skill at textile production due to her mother's own ability as a needlewoman and her encouragement that Trude and her sister busy themselves with hobbies. Her parents' acquisition of an embroidery factory in Treforest also likely fuelled her interest. When she was nearing forty, she took a ten-week needlework course which allowed her to perfect her ability. Trude went on to make over twenty-five curtains for Arks in Synagogues including the one in the Cardiff Reform Synagogue, of which she was a member.

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

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