Frank Loeffler was born in Oxford in 1920 to a father, George, a chemist who originated in
Frank’s early experiences of moving around helped shape his later interests – he was to become the chairman of the Refugee Council. Frank’s own wife Sabina, was a refugee from Nazi
During the Second World War, he worked in an electrics factory – a protected industry – and he also worked as an air-raid warden in Hampstead, where he was then living.
After the war he returned to practise law, and set up chambers in
He was a regular visitor to Franco’s Spain to fight for the rights of political prisoners, and worked as an advisor for legal teams on the Julian Grimau case in the early 1960s, which saw the leader of the clandestine Spanish Communists arrested, tortured, and thrown out of the window of a multi-storied building. After massive global protests including across
Amongst the many cases of injustice Frank handled, he was up against it when he began representing Jack Hendy (see separate entry), one of the Electricians Trade Union leaders ousted by a vindictive set of right winger in the early 1960s. Frank tried to stop the right from banning Jack Hendy from holding office as a result of the infamous ballot rigging case. Although Hendy and another had been found not to be guilty of any misdemeanour, the new ETU leadership leaned on a certain ambiguity in the judge’s summing up. The issue was aired through written exchanges from each side’s solicitor, focusing on a musing by the judge that, were he not forced to use the standard of evidence that he was (it was civil law and therefore much weaker than such a standard would have been in criminal law), he would have “found each of them guilty …”. [Letter 2.5.62 from P R Kimber in reply to F Loeffler letter to ETU of 27th April 1962]
But this was because Winn, the judge, guessed that it was, mainly since Hendy was such an intelligent man that he could not have genuinely believed what they said in Winn’s opinion. The ETU now sought to punish Hendy further by relying on some throwaway remarks by the judge that amounted to a suspicion that something smelled fishy. That the union’ leadership forced their legal representatives to come up with this rubbish is more saddening than outrageous. Nonetheless, the ETU did whatever they wished and Hendy was effectively forced out of his union. It was a rare loss for Frank.
But Frank was equally happy to use his legal skills to assist neighbours facing problems with house repairs or welfare issues. Following his retirement, he could be spotted walking around the streets of
He was also a member of the Haldane Society, which united like-minded left-wing lawyers and was a keen theatre-goer, supporting the socialist drama group Unity Theatre.
Frank Loeffler died, aged 87, in 2007,
His wife, Sabina Loeffler predeceased him.