Rosenthal Helen


Helen Rosenthal

Born in June 1949, of Jewish background, she was the daughter of Phyllis and Harold Rosenthal, the latter of which was an music critic, writer, lecturer, and broadcaster about opera and the founder of Opera magazine.

Although also a talented musician, after university, Helen became a hospital administrator. She later married David Sloane a GP and became a Communist candidate for the GLC.

She became vice-chair of the Hackney Community Health Council and, during the 1970s, the convenor of the Party’s Health Advisory and was heavily involved in Hackney branch of the National Abortion Campaign.

She retrained as a primary school teacher and working in the east end of London, pioneering the use of poetry in the classroom to build connections with the mainly Bangladeshi pupils.

During the purge of dissident members of the Communist Party of Great Britain after the internal struggle over the Morning Star in 1984-5, a large part of the membership of the London District came under scrutiny.  To avoid the already enormous numbers who had been expelled for failing to toe the EC line, an administrative form of vetting was adopted. Members had to reapply for membership to receive a new card.

In a detailed survey, Helen was listed as a member in Hackney South who was proposed for being re-registered in January 1986, suggesting a neutral or supportive position towards the then leadership. Others gave unsatisfactory answers to questions posed to them and further discussions were slated.

Helen died of cancer aged 47 in November 1996.

Sources: CPGB EC archives 1986; Guardian 18th November 1996.

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