Obituary: Louis Bondy

Louis Bondy, antiquarian bookseller and local politician: born Berlin 19 June 1910; died 10 June 1993.

LOUIS BONDY was an antiquarian bookseller and for many years a London councillor.

He was born in Berlin in 1910, into a cultured Jewish family. Encouraged by his father, the editor af a literary magazine, he studied architecture in Berlin and Geneva. He later regretted never having completed his studies.

In 1932, he was drawn back to his father's profession, and was offered a post in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung with a desk in Paris. Here he found an exciting new life reporting on art galleries, theatre and opera houses, only to have it abruptly ended with Adolf Hitler's accession to power in 1933. He became a photojournalist in Spain, fleeing to London in 1937, shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War. He joined the Jewish Central Information Office - later to become the Wiener Library - and worked there during much of the war years, becoming its Acting Director. After the war he covered the Nuremberg Trials as an observer in 1945, and wrote a searing account of the Nazi regime, The Racketeers of Hatred. After the war he settled down as a bookseller in Bloomsbury, and became an authority on miniature books.

Bondy was elected to the London County Council in 1958, and the Greater London Council in 1964 - representing Islington - and became a distinguished chairman of the Historic Buildings Board. His parallel passion was education: he was governor of many schools, chair of the Islington Adult Education Institute's governing body and a long-serving governor of the Polytechnic of Central London. He eventually became the Chairman of the Inner London Education Authority in 1979-80.

In his latter years Bondy was pressed to write his memoirs. He declined; his modesty would not allow it. In the early Eighties he told some of his close friends that he intended to write a detective story entitled 'Murder at County Hall' - the victim to be one of County Hall's doyennes, Ina Chaplin. He said to me, 'You're going to be the principal suspect]'

Bondy was a gentle, thoughtful person, with an old-fashioned mid-European courtesy. A lifelong member of the Labour Party, his socialist convictions kept him on the Left of the party supporting John Lawrence during the boisterous Red Flag days of St Pancras ('Not a penny on the rent, not a penny on the rates') and other left-wing causes: CND, anti-Fascism, comprehensive education. He was unhappy with the direction of the party in the latter years, remaining to the end a courteous, unreconstructed socialist of the old school.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing