Bill Williams
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Pacifism and rescue
The case of Lionel Cowan
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A leading Manchester proponent of pacifism was Lionel Cowan, a Manchester Jew who in 1929 was converted to the cause at a meeting he attended at the Friends Meeting House in Mount Street on the evils of war. His subsequent efforts on behalf of refugees may be seen in part as a result of his reading of the pacifist creed, an unusual ideology for a man brought up in an orthodox Jewish home; in part as a result of his own background in a family of immigrant origin; in part as the consequence of the personal links he established in the early 1930s, largely through the peace movement, with Jewish families in Nazi Germany. Most of all, however, they were the outcome of an emotional empathy with the suffering which had triggered his pacifism, which informed his Judaism and transformed the influences at work on him into determined action.

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‘Jews and other foreigners’

Manchester and the rescue of the victims of European fascism, 1933–1940


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