In 1937, master tailor Isaac Bartelewski left his home in the Sudetenland and settled with his wife and son in London, where he soon established a reputation as the best bespoke tailor in the Mile End Road.
Isaac worked long hours but every morning he took a tea break in Jacko’s tearoom. In those days such places were not called cafes. Tea cost a penny, but only three farthings if you brought your own mug. Isaac’s was a white enamel one with a blue handle and rim. A farthing was a farthing, after all.
Isaac became one of a small group who spent their tea breaks setting the world to rights. Sometimes he took his seven-year-old son Daniel along for a mug of tea and a bun. Little Danny would sit listening intently, saying nothing.
One day the topic at the table was as it had been every day of late, the expected war and its outcome. One man said that he admired immigrants like Isaac who had fled the Nazis but, God forbid, what would they do if Hitler won?
To Isaac the very idea was unthinkable! Puce with fury he rose, leant forward and placed his palms on the table. Little Danny cowered, his eyes saucer wide. Isaac, sputtering in frustration as he tried to find the right words, finally spoke.
“Hitler vin?” he thundered, shaking with fury. “HITLER VIN? Let me tellink you, Adolf Hitler will becomink a JEW before he is becomink King of England!”
Thus did a little boy in the East End of London come to believe for a short while (for hadn’t his own papa said so?), that Adolf Hitler would become King of England, after he had converted to Judaism!