Marianne Leavor 12 October 1933 - 15 April 2015
Marianne, one of the Association's long term members and supporters sadly passed away on 15 April 2015 and a very large group of family and friends had the opportunity to say farewell to her at a service in memory and celebration of Marianne's life on 21st April.
Marianne was born Marianne Breitbarth on October 1933 in Breslau, Germany. Her father was forced by the Nazis to stop practising law and so took a job in a Jewish Centre. He was active on the committee of the synagogue in which he and Marianne's mother had been married. This synagogue was burnt down during 'Kristallnacht'.
Marianne's father was arrested and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, and then released after three weeks. On his return home, his physical appearance had altered so much that Marianne did not recognise him. Her mother managed to secure domestic visas to take up jobs in Bath, England, through a friend who was already working in the UK. On the family's arrival in February 1939, Marianne's mother worked as a cook and cleaner, while her father was a chauffeur, butler and gardener.
After working for a short time in the UK, Marianne's father was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien and her mother took a job as a cook with a couple living just outside Gloucester, who were very good to Marianne. When her father was allowed home, he qualified in accountancy and after the war the family moved to Belsize Park in London. Although he had been offered a position as a lawyer back in Germany post war, Marianne's mother refused to return there with a young child and so the family made their home permanently in England.
It was when Marianne was at grammar school that she started to realise she was Jewish, and she joined Jewish youth groups and attended synagogue with her father. After leaving school Marianne took a secretarial course and then met her future husband Rudi when he came to give a talk to B'nai Brith. He rang the weekend after the talk to ask Marianne out, and her father said "well in broad daylight not much can happen to you, so go along"! Their married life began on 21 August 1955 in Bradford, where Rudi practised as a dentist.
Marianne and Rudi have four children and eight grandchildren. They remained in the same house they had built for them when they first married. Marianne was never happier than when surrounded by her family. We give thanks for her rich life and the legacy she left to the world. We shall miss her smiling face, and she will always be remembered by her friends at the HSFA.