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Words for All
Leeds Literary Festival


Milim Autumn 2018

Welcome to the Autumn Season 2018

Leeds Jewish Lads at War

'I Hear My Name Being Called'

This very special evening is remembrance of the Leeds Jewish men who fought and died in the Great War.

It is centered around a performance of a short play ‘I Hear My Name Being Called’, written by Mike Levy, based on the unpublished letters of his uncle, Rifleman Myer Tompofski MM.

Private Tompofski was a member of the Leeds Jewish community and his letters are addressed mainly to parents and siblings. These letters are in the hands of his nephew and have never been seen outside the family. Myer was one of many hundreds of Jewish volunteers and conscripts of whom 176 died in the conflict. He was killed in action a few weeks before the end of WWI, and received the Military Medal in March 1918, just six months before he fell on the opening day of the battle of the Canal du Nord.

The play will tell the story of Myer and others, outlines the history of Jewish servicemen in WWI.

Directed by: Lesley Ford, Actor: Will Males as Private Myer Tompofski.

During the evening, selected war poems will be read by creative practitioner Emma Gordon, and her drama students Sam Pearce, Oliver Sapier and Marc Smith.

Generously Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project described with Mike Levy’s own words: “Ever since I was a little boy in Leeds, I have been aware of the eight letters that Myer sent from the trenches in France to his family in the Leylands. But it was only in the last year that I read them properly and then realised that there was a short play to be written about Myer – a typical Tommie desperate to get home but keen to do his duty.

The letters reveal a lively, funny, caring individual; a lost brother forever mourned by his siblings (including my mother Millie) – an uncle I was never to know though I am named after him.

Myer’s letters allowed me, his nephew, a glimpse into a life cut short – one of hundreds of Jewish young men from Leeds who were killed in action during World War I. I hope my short play ‘I Hear My Name Being Called’, will help to us to remember Myer and all the men who fought and died in that terrible war.”


Leeds Jewish Lads at War

'I Hear My Name Being Called',

The Greatest Comeback

Author David Bolchover talks about his latest book

The remarkable story of Béla Guttmann, the first superstar football coach

David Bolchover is an author and commentator. His latest book, The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory, is a biography of the legendary football coach Béla Guttmann. The title was shortlisted for the 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. David has also published three high-profile business books, including the best-selling The 90-Minute Manager, and has written opinion columns for a number of leading newspapers, including The TimesThe Telegraph and The Financial Times. He has appeared frequently on the BBC, Sky and other broadcast outlets.

Béla Guttmann was the first superstar football coach, achieving great success in Europe and South America before Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho were even born. He was also a Holocaust survivor. In 1944, he hid in an attic near Budapest as thousands of fellow Jews in the vicinity were being deported to Auschwitz. He then escaped from a brutal slave labour camp. His father, sister and wider family perished at the hands of the Nazis. But by the early 1960s, Guttmann had completed the most remarkable turnaround, twice winning the European Cup as coach of Benfica of Lisbon.

In this talk, David Bolchover will trace Guttmann’s background and extraordinary career, and discuss some broader themes thrown up by his recent book The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory. For example, why was so little known until now about the Holocaust experiences of one of football’s most celebrated figures? How does the Guttmann story contradict commonly held myths about the Holocaust? Why is there so little recognition of the massive contribution of European Jews to football before the Holocaust?

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MiliM is supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council:

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