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§05 Mattisyohoo Lewin

By Levi Clancy for לוי on

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Harry Levi was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England on December 6, 1906, the middle child of Mattis and Rivel Levi. His older sister was Millie and his younger brother was Alf. Technically, Harry's proper English name was Harris and his Hebrew name was Rachmael.

In his earlier years, Harry worked in the tailoring trade. He volunteered for the army in 1924 and served only from January 31st to August 30th of that year. After that service, he became an upholsterer and stayed in that tradeuntil his early retirement in 1967, except for another brief stay in the army which lasted from December 12, 1940 until July 22, 1941.

Harry had the nickname "Milky". When Rivel would call him home from play, she would cry the family name of endearment "Rachmilky" for Rachmael, and the other kids must have dubbed him "Milky".

On October 17, 1929, Harry met Chyenni Goldberg who was known as "Jenny". They had three children (see their separate biographies). The first was a daughter, Norma born December 31, 1930. She died of the cardiovascular effects of diabetes, on July 8, 1951. Their second child, was a boy, Barry, born August 29, 1932. Barry was followed on March 17, 1942 by Louise Sandra "Ginger" Levi.

At the outbreak of World War II, like other cities in the United Kingdom, the Leeds schoolchildren were evacuated to country villages to be away from the bombings. Within a few weeks, Harry and Jenny were organizing coach (bus) trips for the parents to visit their children.

In their later years, Harry and Jenny joined the Queenshill Day Centre, the local Jewish comunity center. Harry went into the drama class and Jenny into the art class. He appeared in a few productions and she completed a number of paintings.

Harry died on March 9, 1981 and Jenny went to join him on September 29, 1983. THey were survived by their children Barry and Louise and by grandchildren Lynda and Simon Iduas and Raymond Levi.

[Transcribed below is a newspaper clipping that was included.]

JEWISH GAZETTE, Friday March 20 1981

Obiturary: Mr. HARRY LEVY

The passing of our member, Mr. Harry Levy, is a very sad loss to us all, writes Mrs. Rita Forrest of the Queenshill Drama Class.

He was such a nice, friendly, amusing and good entertainer.

We in the drama class will miss him very much as the parts he played were just for him.

I do not think anyone will ever forget his role with Hazel in "The Convenience" in, to explain to outsiders, they were looking after ladies and gents toilets, discussing who they met, and what went on.

Then he took a gormless part with Mr. Nat Yaffe as the father of numerous children, dressed in a flat hat askew on his head, spectacles and used Yorkshire gormless accent. He had us all in stitches with laughter.

I know that his partner on that occassion will miss him most of all, not forgetting the drama teachers, particularly Lesley.

Our group sends deep sympathy and wishes for a good and long time to Mrs. Jenny Levy.


Norma Levi was born to Harry and Jenny Levi in Leeds, Yorkshire, England on December 31, 1930. She is not to be confusd with Norma Dee Levi, of Fresno, California. She married Gerald Taylor in March of 1951, for tax purposes. This was to be followed by a religious ceremony, arranged for August 1951 but, unfortunately, it was not to be. Norma died from tachycardia or rapid heart beat, associated with an elevated blood sugar level due to her diabetes.


I was born in Leeds on August 29, 1932 to Harry and Jenny Levi. During the second World War, I was attended the Cowper Street School when we were evacuated to the country to avoid the bombings from the Nazi's [sic]. The boys were being sent to different villages than the girls. However, as I was only seven years and three days old on September 1, 1939, I was allowed to go with the girls so that my sister, Norma, could look after me. Norma became very homesick so we returned home after about two and a half months.

I left school at age 14 and started working in a small tailoring factory of seven employees. I was in that trade from August 1946 until August 1953 but took a break for two years from November 1950 until November 1952 to do my service in the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.). It was during this time that I made my stage debut in R.A.F. "camp" shows, as they were called in those days. I appeared in a play, "The King Of The Schnorrers" and in a revue, both amateur and both at the Leeds Jewish Institute. Around March or April of 1953, I started as a semi-professional entertainer, working weeeknds in the Working Men's Clubs in and around Leeds. I used to mime to records, an idea I got after seeing that great American act, "The Bernard Brothers". The career lasted about 14 months, during which time I met my first wife, Mildred, which was the main reason for me to give up entertaining.

In September 1953, I started working for an insurance company. In March 1959, the company transferred me to their Birmingham office so Mildred and I moved their [sic] in January of 1960. I left the insurance company in May of 1965 and started working for a finance company. In the meantime, our son Raymond was born May 29, 1961.

Ellie May Reeves became my second wife on March 10, 1966. In November 1968, I underwent a thrydoidectomy.

In September 1969, I commenced evening classes to study bookkeeping an [sic] and accounts and passed the exams in June 1970. I started courses of study in taxation.

In July 1971, I left the finance company and joined a firm of chartered accountants. I qualified as a taxation practitioner in 1975 and set up my own practice in 1978.


I was born on the 17th of March, 1942 in a little town called Wetherby, which is just outside Leeds, Yorkshire, England. The building was a stately home and was used as a nursing home during the Second World War.

I lived in Quarry Hill Flats, Leeds, which was a large complex of apartment, until I was 9 years old. I went to Keplar School from the age of 4 until I was 7, then to Parish Church School. There were only two Jewish pulis. The rest were other denominations. At the age of 9, we moved to 103 Tynwald Drive, Moortown, which is a suburb of Leeds. I then went to Potternewton Lane School--Infants School. I stayed there until I was 11 and then went to Stainbeck Secondary Modern, a higher school. At the age of 15, I left school and started work in a gown shop.

After a couple of years, I started work in an office. I realised I needed to learn something to use in future years so, at the age of 17, I started training to be a telephonist at the General Post Office.

When still 17, I met the man who was to become my husband, Danny Iduas. We married on the 8th of October, 1961, when I was 19. At this time, I was still working as a telephonist. I finished working in February, 1962 and on the 9th of November, 1962, my daughter, Lynda, was born.

When Lynda was 6 months old, I went back to work in an office, my mother having agreed to look after Lynda. In October, 1963, I found I was pregnant again and, on the 21st of July, 1964, my son Simon was born. I stayed at home until Simon was 8 and then found myself another job. During the next few years, things seemed to go along quite steadily but then life didn't seem to be so smooth.

My husband and I separated in May, 1976, although we remained good friends. In August, 1977, Simon had his Bar Mitzvah. In January, 1979, our divorce became final. In September of the same year, the house we lived in was sold and I moved to another house with Lynda and Simon.

At this time, I realised this was my chance to do something I had always dreamed of doing since childhood. I booked a flight to Los Angeles and few [flew] out on the 15th of March, 1980. I stayed with Beverly and Irving Friedman for 4 weeks, and they really made me welcome. I had the most fantastic time. It was then I knew I just had to go back to the U.S.A.

When I got back to England, I bought a little grocery store which, unfortunately, didn't work out. I drifted into one job after another, being restless to leave the country again.

In march, 1981, my father died and it took me a long time to get over it.

In October, 1982, my son, Simon Charles Iduas, went to Israel and in March, 1983, my daughter Lynda went to Israel. They both went on Ulpan. Simon came home one week before his July, 1983, birthday and Lynda came home the end of that month.

At the end of July, 1983, my mother, Jenny Levi, went into hospital and she was found to have cancer.She was in hospital until the end of September when she died. I still miss her very much.

I started working for a cousin as a telephonist/receptionist, which I really enjoyed. Then in March, 1985, he closed his business and I was out of a job again.

In November of 1985, I started work as an office clerk with the Blood Transfusion Service. It was very interesting work. In December of that year, Lynda went back to Israel, and married Gil Fienberg. Their first son, Aytam, was born the following October. I went to Israel the week after the birth and stayed for three weeks.

I continued working at the Blood Transfusion Service for two years and then decided I would like to try working for myself again. I had bought a knitting machine and tried selling my work but, that too, didn't work.

Late in August, 1988, Lynda and Gil had a second son, Tavor. The following month, I started working temporarily for a local bus company. In January, 1989, my position became permanent with the same company.

That is my life so far as of February 24, 1989.

"Alf" had his own hairdressing salon in Leeds, starting in 1938 and ending with his retirement.

"Alf" served in the British armed forces during the Second World War from 1939 until 1946.