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This audio clip is from an interview with Julius Weil, recorded by Jewish History Association of South Wales/Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru (JHASW/CHIDC) on 21 November 2018. In the clip, Julius discusses his experience of religious life as a Jewish refugee in 1939-39.

Julius Weil – a short biography.

Julius Weil was born in Dortmund, Germany on 11 October 1925. He lived in Köln with his parents and younger brother Arnold until 1938; on 9-10 November that year, his school was destroyed in the Kristallnacht pogrom. Julius’ headmaster successfully organised to get the whole school transferred to London. Julius was on the first Kindertransport train to leave the country. He never saw his parents or brother again. Julius and his school colleagues were initially sent to Cricklewood, London. With the outbreak of war, Julius was sent to Bedford, where he was billeted with a non-Jewish family. After leaving school at the age of 15, Julius went to work for the Ministry of Supply in its catering division, first in Bedford then in Egham, Surrey. He left the Ministry at the end of the war and worked in a factory in Staines, Surrey. In 1956, Julius joined the Standard Box and Carton company, in Pentrebach, near Merthyr Tydfil. He spent the rest of his working life with the company, eventually becoming a director.

Julius initially attended Orthodox synagogues in Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff, but moved to the Reform Synagogue in 1968, at the time of his first marriage.

Julius Weil died in February 2021.


Well, it for, for, for, for the majority—I mean we were, we weren’t, not all the boys were Orthodox so to speak. [Pause.] And, although in the hostel everything was very Orthodox, not only, not only food wise, but also in every, every in life; there were prayers in the morning, there were prayers in the evening, there were prayers after meals. Saying grace after meals. But not all the boys were brought up in that way really. But one thing which was important of course was—you know what kosher is?

Kosher food? Which is important or was important. And, [pause] it was strange for anyone who was used to having everything kosher, to be in a non-Jewish home and not being able to partake. [Here, Julius is talking about when he was billeted with a non-Jewish family in Bedford.]

But the, the people who sponsored us, which were the communities I mentioned before, arranged to have food, kosher food sent down.


Jewish History Association of South Wales/Cymdeithas Hanes Iddewig De Cymru (JHASW/CHIDC), Oral history interview with Julius Weil (21 November 2018).

Depository: Screen & Sound Archive, The National Library of Wales.

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