Maurice Orbach

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Maurice Orbach
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Stockport South
In office
Succeeded by Thomas McNally
Personal details
Born (1902-07-13)13 July 1902
Died 24 April 1979(1979-04-24) (aged 76)
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Ruth
Children Susie, Laurence
Alma mater Columbia University

Maurice Orbach (13 July 1902 – 24 April 1979) was a British Labour Party politician.[1]



Born to a Jewish family, Orbach was educated at technical college in Wales and as an extramural student at New York University.


Orbach was a lifelong member of the Marxist Poale Zion.[2]

He was general secretary of the Jewish Trades Advisory Council ("a committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, aimed at countering anti-Semitism in business life" during World War II) from 1940 and remained its secretary until his death in 1976.[1][3]

He was chairman of Central Middlesex Group hospital management committee.[citation needed]

He was active in the World Jewish Congress (WJC). In 1954, on behalf of both the WJC and Winston Churchill, he went to Cairo to help save the lives of Jews sentenced to death as part of the Lavon Affair.[2] Later, he said that Egypt's President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, had agreed to spare their lives but then reneged to balance their deaths with members of Muslim Brotherhood.[1]

Political career[edit]

Orbach contested Huntingdonshire in the 1931 election and Willesden East in 1935 and in a 1938 by-election. In 1937 he was elected to the London County Council, representing St Pancras South West.[4][5]

He was elected Member of Parliament for Willesden East in 1945, serving until his defeat in 1959, and for Stockport South from 1964 until his death just before the 1979 general election. His successor was Thomas McNally.[citation needed]


In 1935, Orbach married Ruth, an American, who later taught English to refugees from Nazi Germany.[1][6] She served as chairman of Pioneer Women (later renamed British Na'amat). She died in 1983.[2]

Daughter Susie is a psychotherapist and writer, and co-founder of The Women's Therapy Centre in London.[7] Son Laurence taught history at Columbia University, New York, before founding Quarto Publishing in London in 1976. He was chairman and CEO of The Quarto Group, Inc.[8]


At his death in 1979, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency called him a "prominent leader of Anglo Jewry" and stated "a stalwart Zionist, he was a founder of the Labour Friends of Israel."[1]

In 2010 The Guardian referred to him as "a self-proclaimed Labour Zionist who had conspicuously failed to support Israel during the Suez crisis."[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Maurice Orbach Dead at 76". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 27 April 1979. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2011. p. 734. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Trades Advisory Council Archives". University College London. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "New L.C.C. Labour's Increased Majority. Full Results". The Times. 6 March 1937. p. 7. 
  5. ^ Alderman, Jeffrey (1989). London Jewry and London politics, 1889-1986. London: Routledge. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-415-02204-0. 
  6. ^ "Yank Wives Fit Into Britain's Politics". Chicago Tribune. 16 September 1976. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Susie Orbach profile". Macmillan Publishing. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "Board". Quarto Group. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Alderman, Geoffrey (19 April 2010). "The Jewish vote really does count". Guardian Newspaper. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Samuel Schofield Hammersley
Member of Parliament for Willesden East
Succeeded by
Trevor Skeet
Preceded by
Harold Macdonald Steward
Member of Parliament for Stockport South
Succeeded by
Tom McNally