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Herbert Layton

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
27 August 1939
Interview number:

Interview Summary:

Herbert Layton’s father ran a fashion business in Hamburg. His father & Herbert were both in Sachsenhausen for a few months. Herbert came to UK alone on 27.8.1939. He was engaged in agricultural labour. He was interned in Canada and the Isle of Man after which he signed up for the  Pioneer Corps. Later he was in the Reconnaissance Corps, 8th Army and Landforces, Greece. His parents were sent to Theresienstadt and died in Auschwitz. Herbert married a Jewish woman, Rosa Phillips, during war. He became a Labour councillor in Gloucester. He ran an outdoors and circus entertainment business. 

[In] 1938, Goebbels had banned swing, in fact I have a book here about the Hamburg swing youth, who in 1941 because they still listened to Ben Swing - records smuggled into Germany from Denmark, and I had some - were sent to concentration camps. Swing, according to Goebbels, was Jewish Black jazz, whatever that is, and I became extremely fond of the tune which was called ‘Boo hoo, boo hoo you’ve got me crying for you’; and I went wild for that tune, and it was banned and I got the record smuggled in from Denmark which was not very far away, and I always played it on this canoe, on my little wind-up; and I bought some chrome letters, that high, BOO-HOO, with a hyphen, and I put it on both sides of the canoe. And the boat man was in the SA and he realised what I was doing, where I kept the boat, you see, kept begging me to take it off. What he was worried about was not the SA beating me up, he was worried about them beating him up and dragging him off to the Gestapo. I refused to take it off and they were still there in 1939 when I had to sell it.


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