Friday, 28 December 2018

AARON KLUG



I heard a few weeks before Christmas that a very good friend of my Mum and Dad - of the family - had died. He was terrifically distinguished, but I wasn't aware of his academic or intellectual significance when I was a boy, which is when I knew him. Well, I understood that he was interested in things - in the children of his friends for example. He would question us, in that lovely gentle Jewish South African voice, both quizzical and knowing, about what we were up to - I am sure we gave very dull answers, but he never showed disappointment. We went to stay with the Klugs in Cambridge (where my mother had first met Aaron) every Whitsun holiday. They had a lovely house with a big dining table - the white cloth stretched for miles up and down it - a largish garden we made the most of, and a half timbered Morris estate. 'They' were Aaron and Liebe and Adam and David. Adam was ferociously intelligent, a good deal older than I was. I seem to recall that he ran samizdat into the eastern bloc or something... He died of cancer, I learn, at some horribly early age. David was younger than I was, but almost certainly cleverer. He is, I believe, an academic of note. Liebe had been a dancer. She and I tried to get a sort of UK-SA arts programme going after Mandela was released, but probably through my indolence it came to nothing. Liebe was no-nonsense, but had a wonderful, full laugh. I'm very sorry to have lost contact with the Klugs. They were an important part of my childhood. Aaron was a kind of model human being.

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