The ancestry of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is as charismatic as the man himself, and includes Sunni Muslims, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Protestant dissenters and even the British Royal Family itself. More importantly, he also has a Jewish line.
Boris’s mum, Charlotte Offlow Fawcett, now Mrs Johnson-Wahl, is the granddaughter of Elias Avery Lowe, a Jewish Russian-American paleographer, professor at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study and a friend of Albert Einstein.
Elias, who was born in 1879 in Kalvarija, then part of the Russian Empire, married in Switzerland in 1911 an Ango-American, Helen Tracy Porter, of Princeton, New Jersey, known for her pioneering translations of the works of Thomas Mann.
His father, Chaim Lev Loew (later Charles), a silk merchant, had migrated from Moscow to the US, with his wife, Sarah Gitel Ragoler (later Sophia), and young family, arriving in New York City in 1891.
It is believed Sarah came from a distinguished rabbinical family, although this is unproven. Boris’ three times great grandparents were Schmaye Lev and Rachel Weiss, of Kalvarija.
Read more: Letters to the Jewish News Editor: ‘Lithuanian Jew in No10 – de Pfeffel Johnson?’