Hugo Gryn

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Rabbi Hugo Gryn
Position Senior Rabbi
Synagogue West London Synagogue
Personal details
Born 25 June 1930
Berehovo, Czechoslovakia
Died 18 August 1996 (aged 66)
Buried Golders Green Jewish Cemetery
Denomination Reform Judaism
Spouse Jacqueline Selby
Occupation Rabbi
Hugo Gryn's grave, Golders Green, London

Hugo Gabriel Gryn (25 June 1930 – 18 August 1996) was a British Reform rabbi and a regular broadcaster and a leading voice in interfaith dialogue.

Hugo Gryn was born into a prosperous Jewish family in the market town of Berehovo in Carpathian Ruthenia, which was then in Czechoslovakia and is now in Ukraine. His parents, who married in 1929, were Geza Gryn (1900 – 1945), a timber merchant, and Bella Neufeld.[1]

Gryn’s family were deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Hugo and his mother survived but his ten-year old brother, Gabriel, was gassed on arrival at Auschwitz, while his father died a few days after he and Hugo were liberated from Gunskirchen, a sub-camp of Mauthausen, in May, 1945.

Gryn moved to the United Kingdom in 1946 and later trained as a rabbi in America after which he spent several years in Bombay and New York before finally moving to London in 1964, where he served in one of the largest congregations in Europe, the West London Synagogue, initially as assistant rabbi and later as senior rabbi, for 32 years. Gryn became a regular radio broadcaster and appeared for many years on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day and The Moral Maze.

In 1989, Gryn returned to Berehovo together with his daughter Naomi to make a film about his childhood.[2] After his death, Naomi Gryn edited his autobiography, also called Chasing Shadows,[3] which deals movingly with his experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

He married Jacqueline Selby on 1 January 1957[1] and they had four children together: Gaby, Naomi, Rachelle and David.

He died on 18 August 1996 and is buried at Hoop Lane Cemetery in Golders Green, London. The grave lies in a relatively prominent location, just north-east of the main entrance.

He was described as "probably the most beloved rabbi in Great Britain" by Rabbi Albert Friedlander, who was also the author of the entry about Gryn in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.[4]


  1. ^ a b Albert Friedlander. "About Hugo Gryn". Rabbi Hugo Gryn. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Chasing Shadows (1991) – Plot
  3. ^ Hugo Gryn Chasing Shadows – Introduction by Naomi Gryn (
  4. ^ Albert Friedlander, ‘Gryn, Hugo Gabriel (1930–1996)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, Oct 2008 accessed 13 March 2009 (Note that online access to this requires a subscription, either as an individual or through a library that has a subscription.)

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