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Description

A colour photograph of Trude Owen sitting in her studio and holding one of her embroidered Torah mantles, dated 1988.

The mantle pictured was made to cover Rabbi Jonathan Black's own Sefer Torah; it was created using a tweed base, suede panel, gold kid lettering and cord couched outlines. The mantle was first made by Trude in 1988 when she priced it at £340. It was priced at £450 in 1994.

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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