Max Levitas, born in Southern Ireland in 1915 of a Lithuanian father and a Latvian mother, went to Scotland with his family at the age of 12 and to East London 2 years later.
Max Levitas was born in 1915 in Dublin, Southern Ireland. His father came from Lithuania and his mother from Latvia. Both were Jewish and left because of the persecution they and their families experienced in Eastern Europe. Members of both families were murdered. Max’s father had been trained as an engineer in Lithuania. In Dublin, he found work in the tailoring industry and organised the Irish Jewish workers against the use of cheap immigrant labour. It was a time of political turbulence in Southern Ireland with Irish Nationalists fighting for Home Rule. At the age of 12 Max become active in the Young Communist League.
Max’s father was often out of work because of his union activity so the family moved to Glasgow where Max’s father found work as a tailor’s presser. When he was 14 Max started work as a tailor. Soon after, the whole family – Max, his siblings and parents, moved to Whitechapel in Tower Hamlets, again for job prospects. Max found work in the clothing industry and continued his political involvement. He fought against Mosley and the Fascists in the 1930s and served as a Communist Councillor. Because of his politics and his Irish accent Max came to be known as the Irish Yid Republican. Max still lives in Whitechapel and has been an active Tottenham supporter since his teens.
Listen to Max telling how his mother protected her family from the bullets of the Black and Tans, a force of temporary constables recruited to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) during the Irish War of Independence.