Home Oral history interview with Monty Goldman

Oral history interview with Monty Goldman


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Oral history interview with Monty Goldman, born Mile End, Whitechapel, who grew up in a Jewish communist family and was much involved in an early age in the anti-fascist movement.

In this interview, they discuss memories of Oswald Mosley and 43 Club, collecting money for the refugee children from the Spanish Civil War, and the Battle of Cable Street.

Associated Person

Goldman, Monty (Subject of)


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Photograph - copyright Arnau Oriel

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MAPPING THE CHANGE: Hackney Museum oral history project

Summary & Partial Transcription of Interview with:
• Monty Goldman – Jewish Communist b 11th October 1931

Monty Goldman

Collection Title: ‘Mapping The Change’
Item Title: Monty Goldman interviewed by Tony T
Speaker: Monty Goldman (interviewee)
Speaker: Tony T (interviewer)
Recordist: Rebecca Goldstone
Purpose of recording: Interviewed for ‘Mapping The Change’ (Dalston)
Recording Dates: 15th June 2010
Recording Location: At interviewee’s home, Hackney, London.
Access restrictions: None
Recording equipment: Marantz PDM661 & 1 Sennheiser lapel mic - ew112-p
Recording notes: WAV
Documentation: Typed summary
A portrait photograph in jpg format
Interview summary:
Ridley Road: battling fascists with Morris Beckman

[00:27:35] Ridley Road was the hunting ground, or the battle ground for Morris Beckman, Gerald Flamberg, the Goldberg brothers, I knew them all, ‘cause I was still wearing short trousers and they used to get annoyed with me, because 1945 I was about 13, uh, when the war ended I was 1,and within 3 or 4 months these blokes who’d served in every Force – Paratroopers, Royal Navy, they come out, and they go to Ridley Road, and before Mosley came, before Mosley formed his Union Movement, there were a whole group of various Fascist organisations, eh, under the name of book clubs and all that……I used to frustrate them because I was this little boy, - mentioned in Beckman’s book – who used to be everywhere (laughs), because I remember I got arrested once at Brixton, ‘cause I used to go all over with the 43 Group – they didn’t want me to be there, but being a 14 or 15 year old child, I mean I even got arrested before, when I was 16, when I went in the army, uh, eh, for, I remember, it was 1948 when I got arrested, 1948, it arose from an incident at Stockwell Station – uh this bloke had been speaking there, and you know, uh being anxious to keep the Fascists off the streets and not being disciplined like I am in later years, I was in later years, you know, you used to have a bit of a punch-up. [00:30:00]
Race prejudice: from anti-semitism to colour prejudice and sus laws – fascists target multi-cultural communities

Anyway so the next thing was I continued to go down Ridley Road and thought to myself, well that is frustration, these lads who had been in the Navy, Army, Air Force – had fought Fascism, had volunteered to go anywhere in the world to make their contribution against Fascism, they fought in Burma, and um, the Fascists are on the streets, provoking, these type of people, shouting: the yids the yids, we must get rid of the yids and the Police not saying a word, and the Police in later years, were the same Police under the SUS laws were arresting young Black lads.

Ridley Road Market: Jewish identity, Kosher butchers

Ridley Road Market in those days, now it’s an international market. You’ve got mainly Caribbean, but you’ve got Asian… In those days it was predominantly the indigenous Jewish population who ran the stalls. There were I think as many Kosher butcher shops in Ridley Road, more Kosher butcher shops in Ridley Road, than there are now in the whole of Hackney. Despite the fact that you’ve got the very strict orthodox Jews. 00.43:24 And you had fruit stalls, some of the finest fruit in Britain down at Ridley Road. And you had Jewish bakers. And Jewish delicatessens. And you had Joseph’s; had two or three shops down there. You had Kossof’s; the bakers from the East End, they got promotion, they moved out of the East End into Ridley Road Market.

00:55:47 Ridley Market – we had a big campaign at Ridley Road, to save the market. Because they wanted to build up – rebuild the position. And you know when, once the council rebuild something, the rents are astronomical, right? And it’s destroyed markets like Hoxton, Chatsworth Road, Well Street Market. These were markets – once good markets. 00:56:48

Mosley & Fascist Activity:
1:05:28 Of course the Fascist activity is part and parcel, because the Fascists always go where there’s a multi-racial position. 01:05:54
1:28:20 I would say it’s difficult to differentiate, eh, the people of Dalston, if you go further south and go into Hoxton, then you’ve got a different kettle of fish, uh the nearest I’ve know about the Dalston position was in Culford Street around De Beauvoir, that Mosley wanted to make a comeback, when he made the comeback after he’s been in prison, got all the unity of all the different Fascist groupings and book clubs and all that under different names into Union Movement, see he understood, he was uh, eh, diplomatic, he was, eh, he understood the thinking of the ordinary person in the street, because he formed out of these different groupings one united Union Movement, he called it The Union Movement. 1:30:00

The Rio Cinema
Rio was the old ‘Classic’ in Dalston. It was a Classic cinema - the chain of The Classics. It used to be known as the ‘flea-pit’ and it used to smell out of all recognition. A terrible smell because of the toilets and all that, yeah! And whereas the main chains would have been six-pence, nine-pence and a shilling. In places like the Classic, it was four-pence old money. 1:59:26

Dalston Towers
By the station… I think it’s a nice development. I think it’s cleared a lot of slum property, and dangerous property. I think it’s got rid of some of the worst possible – and this is what upsets me as well, when you get the middle class educated people who want to save the old cinema that existed there. That should have been pulled down years ago. It became a club, where more shootings and villains operated from… And these middle class people were having a campaign against the council, to prevent them from re-developing the site. I said ‘what is wrong there is that it’s an eye-sore’. There’s been a nice development. The problem is that everything has been privatised there. 2:05:30

Downham Road – I had a huge campaign there for re-housing some people. Some of the worst slums in Downham Road. They’ve developed the top end of Kingsland Road in Downham Road, and they had the Penthouse there. Seven figures. I mean, who the Dickens can afford that type of money. Unless you’re a banker or a high-flying official in the local authority. I mean to get a million pound house or flat, the lease you’d have t be on, £2,000 a week salary – that would be the minimum. 2:08:??

Copy Material Location: WAV copies held at Hackney Museum:
1 copy stored on a portable hard drive
1 copy stored on a DVD-R (Gold Archive Standard)