Russian Call-up papers

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samuel-grasse-military-callup

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I’ve always wondered why Samuel stayed at university for over a decade, first studying Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, then Politics Philosophy and Law, then Forensic Medicine and more law, and finally even more Chemistry and Metallurgy…but perhaps this military call-up paper sheds some light. Dated 22 September 1908 it has recently been found in a cardboard Cadburys chocolate box (with a picture of roses on the front!) kept safe by my grandmother and then my aunt, also containing several other interesting documents. Just as his second academic year was starting at Glasgow University the Russian authorities in Vilna were tracking Samuel down.

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Samuel’s parents and brother

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samuel-grasse-with-parents-and-brother-mariampole-reduced-size

For the first time in my life I am seeing photos of my grandfather that I didn’t know existed. This is a rare picture of Samuel with his parents and his brother, taken at Fotografija Z. Tezba of Mariampole according to the stamp. This shows that he went back to visit his parents after his studies and confirms the connection with Mariampole, the place listed by Glasgow University as his home town. However, Mariampole (or Marijampole) may still only have been the family’s nearest town rather than where they actually lived and I am keen to find out their exact location.

Samuel looks strangely out of place in this photo, the newly qualified Glasgow lawyer visiting parents from a different culture. I am making an assumption that the other young man is his brother. He seems to be wearing some sort of uniform. I understand that Lithuania gained independence from the Russians in 1918 (only to lose it again in 1940), so I don’t know what uniform it would be. On the other hand, it may be that his brother is also on a visit to see his parents and brother. If only someone had labelled this photo!

Letter to the Editor JC April 23 1926

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letter

From Mr. SAMUEL GRASSE, M.A., BSc., LLB.

To the Editor of THE JEWISH CHRONICLE

SIR,—The Chief Rabbi’s second sermon on the affirmations of Judaism has been quite disappointing, and in many respects even objectionable. Many, as you expressed it in an Editorial note, have been looking to the Chief Rabbi to show “how orthodox Judaism is in no sense Inconsistent with the circumstances and conditions of modern life,” and there are those who have been looking to be shown – as it can be shown – that the fundamentals of Judaism have gained and not lost by the progress which mankind has made in the domain of positive and experimental science. So far, it cannot be said that the expectations of either have been satisfied. Continue reading

Jewish student life in Glasgow

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I have spent today absorbed in the political and social life of Jewish students in Glasgow between 1909 and 1919. The morning began with a simple aim of finding the announcement of Samuel’s death in the Jewish Chronicle (JC), but from there I was led into a world of student societies and political discussion, where I remained utterly captivated for the rest of the day.

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Finding the gravestone

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gravestone

My cousin Caroline has managed not only to locate, but also to visit Samuel’s grave based on information from my mother Ethel, combined with a web search. It is almost at the back of the cemetery, and I’m glad to see there are trees around. The grave itself looks very bare though, just as the others around it do. Continue reading