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Jews in London Organize Souads to Guard Synagogues Against Arson

July 19, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Self-defense squads were formed by young Jews in various parts of London today, to guard synagogues against bombings, arson and vandalism of the type that occurred here three times in the last week and at least 20 times since last November.

Rabbis in most of the synagogues appealed yesterday to worshipers to participate in the defense squads. One squad leader declared today: “We are not taking the law into our own hands. But we are ready to pounce on any of these hooligans and to hold them until the police arrive.”

Within the last week, fire broke out at a synagogue in Stanmore, a London suburb, after two incendiary bombs had been placed on the premises. A few days earlier, a similar incident took place at a synagogue in another section of the city.

In Golders Green, a section heavily populated by Jews, a number of Jews engaged in a fight with men who had gathered in the vicinity at midnight in an apparent effort to carry out an action against another synagogue. In this case, the Jewish defenders were ready, after anonymous telephone caller had tipped off the synagogue’s caretaker. The unidentified, would-be molesters were chased from the area before police could arrive.


A delegation representing the Board of Deputies of British Jews, led by Solomon Teff, president of the Board, met this weekend with Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner of police, and discussed means for strengthening security measures around synagogues.

The police official stated after the conference that Scotland Yard regarded the recent incendiary attacks against synagogues, as well as other anti-Jewish incidents, “very seriously”, and asserted that all possible steps were being taken to protect Jewish houses of worship and to apprehend those responsible for the outbreaks.

One man, arrested over a week ago following a fire in a synagogue in the London suburb of Southgate, was ordered held without bail this weekend after his second arraignment, in which he was charged specifically with “breaking into a place of divine worship and committing arson.” Previously, the charge against the man, 39-year-old Aubrey Desmond Cadogan, had accused him vaguely of committing “sacrilege.”

At the fresh arraignment, Detective Inspector George Claiden told the court that “there are matters which we are investigating at the moment, which will undoubtedly result in further charges, one of which appears to be of a similar nature.” On the inspector’s request, the court remanded Cadogan for another week without bail.

A long-pending bill outlawing racist propaganda, incitement and discrimination was passed on third reading in the House of Commons on Friday. It prohibits “incitement to racial hatred,” and forbids issuance or distribution of “threatening, abusive or insulting publications or speeches with intent to stir up hatred against any section of the public distinguished by race, color or ethnic or national origin.”

One of the bill’s supporters, Quinton Hogg, a Conservative, told Parliament: “I support this kind of thing because there has been a recrudescence of provocative matter attacking Jewish and colored people.”

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