Life in Southern England
Whilst at Windermere his sister sent him the address of a distant relative (Sophie) who lived in Hove. She and her husband, Lou, traveled to Windermere to meet Alfred and following further visits, asked him to stay with them in Hove. There he met Sophie’s father who owned some tailoring shops. Alfred wanted to get back to be with ‘The Boys’ but knew they would eventually be dispersing and so he decided to move permanently to Hove and begin a new life. Asked if he would be interested in learning how to be a tailor, he agreed and so became apprenticed to the tailoring business.
He decided that he needed to get involved with people in the area and joined sports and youth groups where he played tennis and table tennis and soon made many friends. He also went to evening classes and learnt French and further tailoring and other clothes making skills. He stayed in touch with ‘The Boys’ and many of them visited and were welcomed by Sophie and Lou.
He cycled and frequently went out with friends. He became a member of the youth club table tennis team who played in the local league and won many trophies. His defensive skill was much admired, particularly when his opponent in tennis and table tennis was considerably larger in size.
At the Youth Group he met Shirley, who had recently moved from London. They got married on the 18th December 1955. Alfred’s best man was Mendel Preter, also one of the child Holocaust Survivors who had stayed in Windermere in 1945 and who had been in the Westmorland General Hospital at the same time. Alfred and Shirley had three children Caroline, Maurice and Bryan.
Alfred continued tailoring with Sophie and Lou and then went for an interview with BT and was delighted to be accepted for training as a telephonist (a huge achievement as he had only known the English language since arriving in Windermere). To augment his income he tailored by day and worked at the local Telephone exchange in the evenings and weekends.
Alfred had at this time become a very experienced ladies’ tailor and decided to also learn tailoring for men. Since there was by now nothing beyond his tailoring knowledge, he was approached by the Brighton Department store and offered a suite of rooms in which to set up his business. He quickly became established and was known for his skill in making problem clothing fit perfectly. With his friendly personality the workroom became a place people enjoyed visiting.
Alfred and Shirley continued to see Ides until she died aged 53 and the family still retain close contact with her two daughters, six grand nieces and eight great-grandnieces and nephews who still live in France.
Hanningtons the Department store closed in June 2001 and Alfred continued working as a tailor from home. His workshop is still as it was in 2011.
Short excerpt from ‘Alfred’s Workshop‘ film © Huberman Family
Alfred gave many talks to both children and adults about his experiences during the war. He used to say how important it was to communicate these and to try and ensure similar events never would recur…. “if I don’t speak, who will?”.Alfred died in 2011 but he left a valuable legacy – six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Shirley and their children have carried on ensuring that his experiences during the war and those of others will not be forgotten.