Rudolf Leavor

Rudolf was born in 1926 in Berlin with the surname Librowicz. His father was from Inowroclaw and his mother from Munich. His father had three sisters and his mother had six sisters and a brother. His father had an orthodox upbringing and he went to University and became a doctor. He served as a doctor in WWI and won the Iron Cross, Second Class. After the war he retrained as a dentist. His mother was not as orthodox. They married in 1924 and lived in the Gruenewald district of Berlin in a fashionable area and the dental practice was in their apartment. Rudolf had a younger sister and they attended the local elementary school, 13th Volkschule in Schmargendorf. There were 3 other Jewish boys in Rudolf’s class. Rudolf was well treated there and reported very minor incidents. In 1936 he started to attend the Jewish school, Grosse Hamburger Strasse Schule. 

From a young age he loved music and the family often attended concerts. His father played the piano and Rudolf learnt the piano and the violin. He had a happy childhood. His parents were active in B’nai B’rith. His father was chairman of the lodge and his mother treasurer. In 1937 they were arrested by the SS and the Lodge was shut down. They were allowed home but from then on made arrangements to leave. 

His parents visited England a number of times and obtained permits to live and work and the family emigrated on 10 November 1937. They were able to bring out all their possessions and they smuggled out money. They were told that his father could not practice as a dentist in London or Manchester but that Bradford was alright so they came to Bradford. They later brought out their friends, the Egers, who came to Bradford and acted as wardens of the Boys Hostel, formed in 1939 for 25 boys. Boys there included Albert Waxman, Lutz Seisler, Geoffrey Philips, Shane Grunhut, Kurt Leo Eger, Ruth Simmonds nee Eger and Felix Hutterer. Rudolf attended the Bradford Grammar school and within a year was top in English. He felt welcome at this school. He attended Leeds University to study dentistry and then worked for 6 months in Eastman Dental Hospital in London. He then joined the army for just over 2 years. He served for 9 months in Aldershot and then the rest of the time in Austria until 1953. He came out as a Captain. Whilst in the army his parents had transferred from the Orthodox Synagogue to the Reform Synagogue in Bradford and Rudolf followed suit. 


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@ Refugee Voices 2019