BRODETSKY Selig

Male 1888 - 1954  (65 years)


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  • Name BRODETSKY Selig 
    • A Meeting of Minds

      An interesting sub-text to the life of Professor Selig Brodetsky is to be found in his dealings with Montague Burton, the clothing manufacturer and retailer. It was perhaps inevitable that the two should become friends, given their intellectual abilities and shared interest in Zionism. This friendship can be traced back to the early 1920s, when Burton approached Brodetsky with a request that he join him in the running of his business. We are fortunate in having written accounts from both men as to what occurred at that time.

      According to Brodetsky, it was in 1923 that Burton suggested he join him in what was already a major business concern. He remembered the occasion well, thirty years later in his Memoirs. He had come to Leeds in 1920 to take up a post at the University of Leeds, where he was soon to become Professor of Applied Mathematics. Preparations were then being made to establish the appropriate Chair within the relevant Department, and he wanted "to remain an academic man", especially since he was preoccupied with writing and publishing papers in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. But he did ask Burton if it would be possible for him to have time off, to devote to his Zionist work. He was told that it must be "a full-time job." And so he "turned it down."

      The voluminous diaries of Montague Burton (they run to 919 pages!) contain the entrepreneur's own version of what happened, which essentially confirms that of Professor Brodetsky: he told him the role would "have to be 100 per cent", only to find that Brodetsky "promptly declined the offer", even though it would have meant "an income equivalent to that of a cabinet minister." Evidently somewhat bemused by this response, Burton noted that "the average man" would likely "suffer torment" before arriving at a decision in the matter, but "not so in his case." He "simply weighs the pros and cons on his mathematical scale"!

      A leading economic historian has described this as "one of the tantalising might-have-beens of history", trying to speculate as to what might have come to pass had Brodetsky chosen to accept this offer. It would, after all, have united the commercial genius of Sir Montague with the brilliance of the mathematician and polymath. Alas, we shall never know!

      Stephanie Jefford 31 Oct 2016 [1]
    Born 5 Jul 1888  Olviopol, Moldavia, now Western Ukraine Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Official Birthday: 10 February 1888 [this was assigned to him at random by a teacher] [1]
    Gender Male 
    Newspaper Article 20 Jul 1900  The Jewish Chronicle Find all individuals with events at this location 
    JEWS' FREE SCHOOL?Selig Brodetsky, aged 12, has obtained a "Hickson and
    Starling" Scholarship as a result of the recent competitive examination held by the Associated Board of Head Masters. The value of the Scholarship is 125. 
    Census 1901 1901  42 Dunk St., Mile End, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    S 12, Russia FS 
    Census 1911 1911  6 Cecil St., Mile End, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    S U 23, student, Russia NBS 1904 
    Census 1921 1921  Leeds, Yorks. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Selig Brodetsky 1888 ? Leeds Leeds Yorkshire (West Riding); Selig, Maria, Moses and 2 others are on this record 
    1939 Register 1939  3 Grosvenor Rd., Leeds, Yorks. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Born 10 Feb 88, married, university professor 
    Offices 1928-1942  [1
    1928: Elected Member of the World Zionist Executive
    1935: Honorary President of the Maccabi World Union [sporting organisation], and Grand Commander of the Order of Ancient Maccabeans [a Friendly Society]
    1939-1945: Air raid [ARP] Warden on Grosvenor Road, Headingley Lane, Leeds 6
    1939-1949: President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
    October 1942: Member of the Council of Christians and Jews, "To co-operate in fighting all forms of religious and racial intolerance." The Council raised its voice strongly against the Nazi Genocide. 
    Residence 1908-1947  [1
    1908-1911: '6 Cecil Street, Stepney E. [London]' (Vols. 6 and 7, Jewish Historical Society of England).
    1918-1921: 13, St. Mark's Terrace, Leeds' (Vols. 9 and 10 of the JHSE).
    1924-1928: 'Westgate', 64 Headingley Lane, Leeds (JHSE, Vols. 11 and 12)
    1925-1930: 62 Headingley Lane, Leeds (Electoral Rolls).
    1930-May, 1947: 3 Grosvenor Road, Headingley Lane, Leeds (Electoral Rolls and Memoirs of Prof. Brodetsky)
    Note: It is at this address that Professor Brodetsky is listed as no. 231 on the Nazi 'Sonderfahnungsliste' [Special Wanted List] of 1940, which accompanied their Invasion Plan for Britain.
    In May, 1947, the Brodetskys left for London. 
    Occupation 1906-1951  [1
    Professor Brodetsky's Academic Career: 1906-1909: Trinity College, Cambridge; July, 1913: PhD from the University of Leipzig
    1914-1919: Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, University of Bristol
    1920-1924: Lecturer, then Reader in Applied Mathematics, University of Leeds
    June 1924-May 1947: First Professor of Applied Mathematics, University of Leeds
    1933: Vice-President of the Association of University Teachers
    October 1935: President of the Association of University Teachers
    Elected Dean of the Faculty of Science in 1938
    1948: Retired
    May 1949: Elected President at Hebew University of Jerusalem
    11 December 1951: Announces his Resignation 
    Died 18 May 1954  Flat 8 Brompton Lodge, 9-11 Cromwell Road, London SW7 Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried 20 May 1954  Willesden Orthodox Cemetery, Willesden, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Death announcement 21 May 1954  The Jewish Chronicle Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Obituary 21 May 1954  The Jewish Chronicle Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Probate 4 Nov 1954  London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    3679 11s 3d to Mania BRODETSKY, widow, Barnett JANNER and Gerald Stanley DAVIS, solicitors 
    Person ID I0041733  Leeds Database
    Last Modified 6 Mar 2016 

    Father BRODETSKY Akiva,   b. 12 Jan 1864, Golovonefsk, Podolsk, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Oct 1942, Leeds, Yorks. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years) 
    Mother PROBER Adel,   b. Abt 1864, Russia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Dec 1926, Hackney, London Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 62 years) 
    Married Abt 1880 
    Family ID F00006372  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family BERENBLUM Mania Pavlovna,   b. 23 Jun 1890, Bialystok, Poland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Oct 1969, Oxford, Oxon. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 13 Jan 1919  The Great Synagogue, Duke's Place, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Type: Jewish by Chief Rabbi, Dr. Hertz. 
    Children 
     1. BRODETSKY Paul,   b. 13 Jul 1922, Leeds, Yorks. Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jul 1922, Leeds, Yorks. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
     2. BRODETSKY Paul,   b. 29 Jun 1924, Leeds, Yorks Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1979, Oxford, Oxon., UK Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
     3. BRODETSKY Adele A,   b. 1928, Leeds, Yorks. Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2015  (Age 87 years)
    Last Modified 6 Mar 2016 
    Family ID F00006394  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S0000023] Stephanie Jefford.