Zaidman Papers

Ref: MS 118

Title: Zaidman Papers

Scope:
Printed and manuscript documents assembled by Lazar Zaidman relating to the Anti-Fascist movement in London and to the Communist Party of Great Britain during the period 1930s to 1950s, and to Jewish affairs during this period, including the origins of the state of Israel.

Dates: 1911 - 1961 (mainly 1930s to 1950s)
Level: Fonds
Extent: 49 files plus 249 pamphlets
Name of creator: Lazar Zaidman

Administrative / biographical history:

The collection consists of printed ephemera and manuscript documents relating to the Anti-Fascist movement in London and to the Communist Party of Great Britain during the period 1930s to 1950s. There is also material on Jewish affairs during this period, including the origins of the state of Israel. A collection of pamphlets is included.

Lazar Zaidman (1903-1963) was a leading London Communist during the period of the 1930s to the 1950s. He was born in Jubilee Street in the East End to a Jewish family in 1903, but returned with his family to Rumania in 1912 because of his mother´s health. As this did not improve, the family were due to return to England in 1914 but were prevented from doing so by the outbreak of World War One. In Rumania he became involved in trade unionism and therefore politics at a time when even mild liberalism was an offence, and spent 3 years in prison where he was tortured and beaten, losing the hearing in his left ear and the sight in his left eye as a result. In 1925, after the death of his mother, Zaidman returned to England, along with his eldest sister. In 1928, he married Ray and settled in Hackney where he set up a valet shop (many of his speeches were written on the back of handbills for this shop because Zaidman strongly disliked waste). He was a presser by trade but was blacklisted by the garment factory employers, and was thus forced to run his own business.

In the 1930s he was active with other Jewish Communists, and the Zaidmans´ house in Hackney was used regularly for discussions and political meetings. A political Jewish Study Group was based at the house consisting of Zaidman, Alf Holland, Chimen Abramsky, Izzie Pushkin, and Julie Jacobs. All were Communists active in the Jewish People´s Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism - a group that coordinated anti-fascism in the East End during the 1930s. From the 1920s, Zaidman was active in the Workers´ Circle Friendly Society, and also sat on the Central Committee of the Workers´ Circle for the Glasgow branch. He also represented the Workers´ Circle on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and was a prominent member of the National Jewish Committee of the Communist Party. Although never a `national´ figure in the C.P.G.B. he was well-known and was close to more prominent individuals such as R. Palme-Dutt, Hyman Levy, George Rude, and Ivor Montagu. He died in 1963, and his funeral was attended by the leading Communist figures in Britain, an indication of the respect in which he was held.

  • Related collections: East End Newspaper Reports; Krebs Papers; Zaidman Collection
  • Source: Donated 1986
  • System of arrangement: By category
  • Subjects: Communism - Great Britain; Anti-fascism - Great Britain; Jews in Great Britain; Israel - History - 1948-1949
  • Names: Communist Party of Great Britain; Jewish Peoples Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism; Workers' Circle; Zaidman, Lazar, 1903-1963
  • Conditions of access: Available to all researchers, by appointment
  • Restrictions: None
  • Copyright: The University of Sheffield Library
  • Finding aids: Listed