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Baruch Hilda

Hilda Baruch

Born Hilda Froom eight days after the end of the first world war, she grew up in a working-class home in Liverpool where Speed, the news-sheet of the Liverpool tram drivers, was produced.

Aged 13, in 1931, she proposed that her school should condemn the Japanese invasion of China and call upon the League of Nations to live up to its charter and take sanctions against Japan. The motion was taken in front of the whole school. She was not intimidated and won enthusiastic applause from her fellow students. She left school the following year.

When the Spanish generals under Francisco Franco revolted against their republican government in 1936, she joined the struggle to save democracy in Spain, collecting funds and the like to ship to the Spanish people.

Hilda's home was a safe house for refugees from Germany, China and many other places who had stowed away on ships bound for Liverpool. The Frooms' loft and back bedroom gave them shelter until a ship could be found to take them to safety in South America or South Africa. When war was declared in 1939, all Germans were arrested, even the well-known anti-fascists. Hilda was unceasing in her efforts to get anti-Nazis released.

One of them, Hilda's boyfriend, Lou Baruch (born 2nd March 1917 in Hamburg) survived the sinking of the Arandora Star on his way to Canada, was then taken to Australia on the Dunera, and eventually released in 1942. They married and in 1948, by then with two sons, John and William, moved to Bradford.

Hilda started a new career working in the woollen textiles industry and later as a teacher. She chaired the Clayton Scout group and was involved in campaigns to improve school facilities and bus services, as well as campaigning against nuclear weapons and against war.

Lou (pictured left) died at home in Bradford on the 10th June 2002.

 

Hilda died aged 90 in 2009.

 

Source: John Baruch, The Guardian 7th December 2009; http://www.loubaruch.info/