(JTA) — Actor Daniel Radcliffe broke down in tears on television after reading his great-grandfather’s suicide note, which he possibly wrote after suffering anti-Semitic prejudice at the hands of British police.
The scene was filmed for the television show “Who Do You Think You Are,” a British show similar to PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” in which celebrities learn about their family histories.
The “Harry Potter” actor’s relative, Samuel Gershon, had been ruined by a 1936 robbery at the family’s jewelry business in the London neighborhood of Hatton Garden. But police accused the Jewish businessman of faking the raid to claim insurance cash in what may have been anti-Semitic treatment by the officers. Gershon took his life at age 42.
The insurance company eventually paid the claim.
Evidence suggesting that detectives were anti-Semitic and reluctant to properly investigate the crime include a police report that said, according to The Sun: “Jews are so frequently responsible for the bringing down of their own business premises.”
Radcliffe said it was “very jarring to see being a Jew to be taken as a piece of evidence in itself.”
“You want to just reach into the past and just go ‘whatever you’re going through, you have so much to offer the people who are around you still . . . you have so much to give to them,'” the Sun quoted Radcliffe as saying.
Radcliffe’s maternal ancestors were from Poland and Russia, while his father is from Northern Ireland.